We went shopping yesterday and found an immaculate deal on two gigantic slabs of beef.
Typical London Broil wisdom says marinate it in carbolic acid for a few weeks, grill it, cut it excruciatingly thin against the grain of the connective tissue and there is your meal.
Not me, though.
I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel. A tough cut of meat is a war, and braising is my weapon…not acidic marinades. Here I will describe – with visual aids, my favorite method for cooking large blocks of cheap red meat.
WHAT YOU NEED
-Cheap, monolithic beef
-Electric skillet with lid
-Chopped up carrot, celery, onion and garlic (medium-large rough chop)
-Ruffage from celery stalks
-Onion soup/dip mix (1 packet)
-Dried herbage (I use rosemary and thyme)
ALSO NEEDED BUT NOT PICTURED BECAUSE I AM A DOPE
-Olive oil (for browning)
-Kosher salt (seasoning, duh)
-Braising liquid (see below)
You can braise meat in any liquid you want. I use beef broth because it is cheap and imparts a little extra flavor, but this can be done in anything from water to wine and any combination in between. Typically if I don’t have enough broth on hand I just switch to water when I run out.
Add enough oil to the skillet to brown the meat. 1-3 TBSP depending on your skillet and your meat. Fire up the skillet to the highest temp. Once it is good and hot (oil should shimmer), toss in the meat.
After you have achieved some brownage – should only take a minute or two – flip.
After both sides are browned, kick down the heat on the skillet to 250 or 300. Then pour in your braising liquid. It should come at least halfway up the meat, although I usually go up to the top…just don’t submerge it. Add the packet of onion soup, dried herbs, celery ruffage, salt and whatever other seasoning you want to the braising liquid and stir it up to distribute it throughout skillet as best as you can. Then pour the hardware on top…onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Peppers would be a welcome addition too.
Once everything is in the pan, get yourself a nice little simmer going and cover it. You can’t have too much crap in this pan. Everything is going to cook down significantly.
At this point, go find yourself a crossword. Just let it low simmer for an hour and then flip the meat. Whilst flipping, make sure to get those veggies submerged and underneath your beef. Repeat this step a few times, adding liquid as it dwindles down. Personally, I like to let the liquid cook off real low at least once and the the bottom burn in a few spots. Mailliard reactions and such. Depending on your cut of meat, it could take anywhere from 2-4 hours. I usually do this with a chuck roast which is fattier and more tender, so it is good to go after 3 hours. After 2 hours with this top round, though, I took a couple large serving forks and pulled it apart some to expedite the process…this is just because we were hungry. With most other cuts, you will know when it is done, though. After the 2nd or 3rd hour, you will go to flip it and the damn thing will just fall apart in the tongs. The carrots and celery will take on the texture of wet tissue paper and the onions may not even be visible at that point. That is what you are looking for. Think pulled pork. It should look like this:
Serving options are limitless. If you have a lot of liquid left you can serve it over white rice like a soup. If you like it a little dryer, serve with mashed potatoes. Makes great sandwiches. Most of the time I just eat it by itself. This is good and easy and you should try it.