Whether London broil is the same cut of meat as pot roast is a common question for many home cooks. While they are somewhat similar, there are some key differences between London broil and pot roast in regards to the cut of meat, preparation, cooking method, and end result.
What cut of meat is used for London broil?
London broil specifically refers to a thick, flat cut of flank steak or top round steak. It is a tougher, leaner cut of beef that comes from the cow’s hindquarters or abdominal muscles. London broil is not an actual beef cut recognized by butchers, but rather a method of preparation and cooking.
What cut of meat is used for pot roast?
Traditional pot roast uses chuck roast or another well-marbled beef roast like bottom round or rump roast. These cuts come from the front and back legs of the cow. Pot roast cuts have more interior fat marbling than typical London broil cuts.
Key differences in the cuts of meat
The main differences between the cuts of meat:
- London broil comes from the flank or round primal cuts, while pot roast uses chuck or other roasts from the chuck or round primals.
- London broil is very lean, while pot roast is well-marbled with fat.
- London broil is a flat steak, while pot roast is a thick roast.
How is London broil prepared?
To prepare London broil:
- The flank or top round steak is left whole as one thick piece of meat.
- It is lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and other spices.
- Marinades are sometimes used to impart flavor and tenderize the steak.
- The meat is often scored or tenderized with a meat mallet.
How is pot roast prepared?
To prepare a traditional pot roast:
- The chuck or other roast is trimmed of excess fat.
- It is seasoned all over with salt, pepper, and other spices.
- The roast may be seared for browning prior to cooking.
- Root vegetables like carrots, onions, and potatoes are added to the pot.
- Liquid like broth or wine is added to the pot.
How is London broil cooked?
London broil is cooked using either a dry heat or broiling method:
- Grilling – The steak is cooked on a grill over direct high heat for a few minutes per side until browned and cooked to desired doneness.
- Broiling – The steak is placed on a broiler pan and cooked under the oven’s broiler, close to high heat, until browned and cooked through.
The goal is to sear and brown the exterior while keeping the interior juicy. London broil is often sliced across the grain before serving.
How is pot roast cooked?
Pot roast cooking involves indirect moist heat methods like braising or stewing:
- Braising – The roast is browned then cooked in a covered pot with a small amount of liquid, at low heat for 2-4 hours until very tender.
- Stewing – Similar to braising but with more added liquid.
The covered pot and gentle heat helps break down the tough connective tissues and results in a fall-apart tender roast.
Key differences in cooking methods
In summary, the main differences in cooking methods are:
|London Broil||Pot Roast|
|Dry heat methods like grilling or broiling||Moist heat braising or stewing|
|Short cooking time at high heat||Long cooking time at low heat|
|Rare to medium doneness||Well done and fall-apart tender|
Comparison of end results
Due to the differences in cut, preparation, and cooking, the end result differs between London broil and pot roast:
- Texture – London broil issliceable but still firm. Pot roast is fall-apart tender.
- Flavor – London broil tends to be simple, letting the beefy flavor shine. Pot roast has a richer, more complex flavor.
- Appearance – London broil is evenly browned on the exterior with a pink interior. Pot roast is fall-apart tender and shreds easily.
- Uses – London broil is best for slicing and serving whole. Pot roast shreds well for serving over noodles, rice, veggies, etc.
While London broil and pot roast have some similarities and can both result in delicious dishes, they are fundamentally different cuts of meat requiring different preparation and cooking methods. The key differences come down to the cut of beef, marbling, preparation techniques, cooking times and methods, doneness, texture, and flavor. While they make tasty dinners, London broil and pot roast are not interchangeable in recipes and their differences are important when selecting and cooking the right cut of meat.