Tag Archives: grilling

London Broil

What comes to your mind when you read London Broil depends a great deal upon where you happen to live. If you are outside of English-speaking North America it probably means nothing. In Canada, it most likely conjures up an image of ground meat wrapped in a flank steak. In the U.S. the meaning has evolved over time and varies regionally. Some insist that London broil is a method of cooking flank steak. Others, especially in the Northeast, use the term to refer to a thick top round steak most often marinated and grilled. The origin of the name is unclear: Merriam Webster dates it to 1902; some say it was first used in the 1930s; others insist that it was not invented until the 1950s or 1960s. In any case, it is neither from London nor is it usually broiled. At our house, London broil is a thick (25 mm to 35 mm, 1” to 1½”) piece of top round marinated in a balsamic vinaigrette, grilled no more than to medium rare, and served thinly sliced diagonally.

I adapted this recipe from Sarah R. Labensky and Alan M. Hause, On Cooking: techniques from expert chefs (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1995), 298.



Olive oil

120 grams

4 ounces

Balsamic vinegar

120 grams

4 ounces

Fresh rosemary, chopped

30 milliliters

2 Tablespoons

Garlic, minced

50 grams

4 or 5 large cloves

Coarsely ground black pepper

15 milliliters

1 Tablespoon

Beef top round

about 1½ kilograms

about 3 pounds


Combine the marinade ingredients in a suitable, non-aluminum, pan that fits the meat fairly closely. Alternatively, use a large freezer bag. Add the meat and turn over to cover both sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours or, preferably, overnight. I sometimes let it marinate for a couple of days turning a couple times a day.

Heat a charcoal or gas grill until quite hot. Wipe the marinade from the meat. Place the meat diagonally on the grill. Cook for about four minutes then flip lengthwise.  After another four minutes, flip it again but at 90 degrees to create hash marks. Repeat for a total of another eight minutes. The meat should be medium rare, about 135°F (57°C).

Let the meat rest for at least ten minutes then cut diagonally across the grain into 6 mm (¼”) slices.

Herby Pork Burgers


This time of year the sun both direct and reflected from the south wall of our house makes sitting on our deck during the day impossible. My potted herbs, on the other hand, find this much to their liking so long as I water them daily. So I am always trying new dishes using herbs. For these burgers I used a sprig of savory, several of parsley, a few sage leaves, and a clipping of rosemary. Feel free to substitute whatever herbs you prefer.

Note: this recipe is per burger. Multiply as needed.


1 clove garlic

½ small onion

Herbs to taste (see above)

170 grams (6 ounces) lean ground pork

Salt and pepper


Mince the garlic and onion.

Chop the herbs.

Mix into the meat.

Form patties.

Season with salt and pepper.

Grill until done (70°C, 160°F), about 8 minutes on a side.

Serve on a bun with mayonnaise.

I do this the lazy man’s way: in a food processor.

Mexican-Style Smoked Leg of Lamb

This year Cinco de Mayo coincided with Orthodox Easter so it seemed apt to prepare an iconic Greek holiday food in a style reminiscent of Mexico, noting that I make no claims of authenticity on either count. One traditional Mexican preparation of a leg of lamb, or goat, is barbacoa en adobo, literally barbeque in sauce, in which the meat is marinated in a spicy chili paste, placed on a bed of vegetables, wrapped in banana leaves, and slowly roasted for hours. In Greek cuisine a leg of lamb is also marinated but usually in yogurt and lemon but it is grilled or roasted directly over hot coals, often with an aromatic wood added to provide a smoky flavor. In my version, which I admit leans more heavily in the Mexican direction, I use a marinade similar to that used in barbacoa and cook the meat over indirect heat in a charcoal smoker grill with mesquite chips. If you would like to try real barbacoa en adobo I recommend the recipe by Pati Jinich at Pati’s Mexican Table which was also featured in The Washington Post. For guidance on smoking a leg of lamb on a backyard grill I turned to a recipe by the late Papa D. posted at food.com.


  • 3 dried guajillo chilies
  • 2 dried ancho chilies
  • Boiling water, about 3 cups (750 ml)
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) lime juice, optional
  • 4 or 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon (2 ml) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt, or to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) sugar
  • 1 leg of lamb, preferably bone-inesquite chips for smoking


In a large, dry, preferably cast iron, skillet over medium heat toast the chilies, being careful not to burn—especially the guajillos which burn easily. Place the chiles into a medium saucepan along with boiling water to just cover them. Simmer for 10 minutes then set aside to cool somewhat. With a pair of tongs, lift each chile from the water, stem end down, remove the stem and seeds, and transfer to a blender. (Note: do not make the mistake I made of thinking that a food processor will work for this otherwise you will have as big a mess as I did.) Strain the cooking liquid into the blender and add rest of the ingredients. Puree until smooth. Wipe out medium saucepan and empty the puree into it. Simmer, uncovered, until it thickens, about 20 to 30 minutes. (Note: traditionally the sauce would be seared in lard or oil before simmering.) Set aside to cool. Trim the leg of lamb of excess fat and, with a sharp knife, remove the membrane (silver skin) being careful not to let the muscles of the leg separate. Place the meat on a large piece of plastic wrap and season the top side with salt and pepper then rub on a generous amount of the marinade. Turn it over and repeat on the other side. Wrap the leg with the plastic using additional large pieces as needed. Put into a suitable pan and refrigerate overnight. Take the lamb out of the refrigerator four or five hours before you plan to serve it. Let it warm up at room temperature for about an hour. Put a quantity of mesquite chips in a bowl of water to soak while you prepare the grill for indirect heat. I put burning charcoal with a few pieces of mesquite on either side of an aluminum drip pan on the fire grate. Place the lamb on the grill and smoke it until it reaches about 150°F (65°C)—from two to four hours depending on how hot your fire is. Ideally you should keep the temperature around 200°F (95°C) but I found that impossible to do on my Weber grill so my lamb was done in about two hours. Let the lamb rest, tented loosely with foil, for a half hour before serving. I served the lamb thinly sliced with warmed tortillas, Mexican rice, beans, and the usual taco accompaniments.

Very Good Hamburgers

Franks® Red Hot sauce is perhaps best known as the basis for the original Buffalo wing sauce invented by the Anchor Bar in that city. And it is by far my favorite hot sauce, so much so that I buy it in a gallon jug to refill the smaller bottle I dispense it from. It is thicker with less vinegar and heat than Tabasco® making it, to my taste, a more balanced addition to ground beef for making a really good hamburger. Incidentally, the hamburger recipe on the Franks® label contains catsup which I think properly belongs on the bun, not in the burger. Try it and mine then decide for yourself which you prefer.

For about four hamburgers


  • 1 pound ground beef, not too lean
  • ¼ cup Franks® Red Hot sauce, original flavor
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried minced onions
  • Salt and pepper
  • Thick buns, catsup, and mayonnaise to serve


Mix the hot sauce and minced onions into the meat. Form into patties and season with salt and pepper. Cook in a hot cast iron skillet, on a griddle, or on a grill for about 4 or 5 minutes on a side. The meat should reach an internal temperature of 160°, but no more.

While the meat is cooking lightly toast the buns. Spread with catsup and mayo. Add the burger and serve proudly.

Provençal Summer Squash and Peppers

In our culture meals are generally built around a protein of some sort, usually meat. But at this time of year when the farmers’ markets and roadside stands are overflowing with the bounty of the countryside vegetables should play the starring role. This dish combines lovely yellow summer squash with a variety of colorful small bell peppers. I serve it simply with grilled pork chops and roasted potatoes for a nice summer evening meal.


1 medium or 2 small summer squash, about ½ pound (zucchini would be good too)

2 or 3 small bell peppers of various colors

½ medium onion, thinly sliced

3 or 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

4 or 5 fresh basil leaves cut into a chiffonnade[i]

1 bay leaf

1 Tbsp. olive oil

½ tsp. kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 boneless pork chops, about 6 ounces each

2 medium firm white or yellow potatoes, about 10 ounces total

More olive oil, salt, and pepper


Slice the squash crosswise into ⅜-inch thick slices. Halve the larger slices so that all the pieces are about the same size. Halve the peppers lengthwise, remove the seed, stem, and ribs then cut crosswise into ⅜-inch wide strips.

Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium low heat. Add the onions and sweat gently for about 4 minutes. Do not allow them to brown. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so until fragrant. Add the bell peppers and continue to cook gently until slightly softened, about a further 4 minutes. Add the squash, basil, salt, bay leaf, and a generous grind of black pepper. (Do not be tempted to omit the salt. It is necessary to draw the moisture out of the squash. ) Cover and simmer over low heat for about 40 minutes. If desired, uncover, break up the squash with a wooden spoon, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow to concentrate.

While the squash is cooking, prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking over high heat.

Scrub and eye the potatoes. Quarter them lengthwise and toss with about ½ Tbsp. olive oil and a good pinch of kosher salt. About 20 minutes before the squash are done, but the potatoes on the cooler side of the grill. Turn occasionally.

Trim any visible fat from the pork chops, pat dry, rub with a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides. When the potatoes have been on the grill for about 15 minutes, put the pork chops on over the hot coals. Grill for about 4 minutes on each side, ideally to an internal temperature of 145°. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

[i] To make a chiffonnade, lay the basil leaves on atop the other, roll tightly, and cut across the roll into ⅛-inch shreds.