Make Beef Affordable With London Broil

With my grill on high, I cooked this London Broil for nine minutes and then flipped it to cook for nine more minutes. To get classic searing on the meat, leave it alone for the full cooking time on each side.


It often seems as though your efforts to eat inexpensively mean having to sacrifice what many of us see as standard fare. For example: What about beef? With the toughest cuts of beef starting above five dollars a pound, a juicy grilled steak will bust the $7 Dinner budget… or will it?

Very recently, prices on many cuts of beef jumped about 5% in central Pennsylvania. Despite the increase, your family of four can have steak and side dishes for less than $7. I did this a few weeks ago when I bought London Broil at a buy-one-get-one-free sale. The grocery store’s normal price for London Broil was $6.32 per pound, so buying two packs of nearly the same weight reduced the price to $3.16 per pound. The smallest packages contained about two pounds of meat, so I bought four pounds (in two packages), froze one package, and cooked the other for dinner.

london broil marinading in a bagI marinade meat in zippered storage bags. Reduce costs by washing out the bags and hanging them to dry after each use. Alternatively, find a small bowl, casserole dish, or storage container barely large enough to hold the meat. When you use a bowl, flip the meat repeatedly while it marinades to ensure even exposure to the seasonings.

Audiences at some of my presentations outside of Pennsylvania have advised me they pay more for meat than I do. Wherever you live, you’ll need to shop around to find the best deals. Even if your best sale price for London Broil is four or five dollars per pound, choose low-cost side dishes and you can keep the cost of your meal below $7.

Sticking with my $3.16 per pound price, if each diner ate ¼ pound of beef, a two-pound package would last for two dinners. Spending only $3.16 for the beef left $3.84 to spend on side dishes and drinks—enough to provide very generous sides of mashed potatoes, bread, salad, vegetables, and more.

Cooking London Broil

London broil isn’t naturally tender, but neither is it very tough. Typically, people marinade a London broil to flavor it and, perhaps, to tenderize it just a bit. The real trick, however, is simply to slice the meat thin across the grain just before serving. The thin slices are meaty and tasty and can satisfy an American’s urge for beef. I prepared my London broil with a teriyaki marinade.

covering london broil while it restsRemove the meat from the grill and immediately cover it with a large pot lid. Set it aside for ten minutes while you get side dishes on the table. Letting the meat rest after cooking helps it retain moisture.


2 lbs London broil, $6.32

½ cup red cooking wine, $.33

¼ cup soy sauce, $.16

2 TB brown sugar, $.06

½ tsp ground black pepper, $.03

1 tsp grated fresh ginger, $.02


At least four hours before you plan to cook, combine all the ingredients except the beef in a one-quart zippered freezer bag and mix them well by squeezing the bag repeatedly. Add the meat and zip-seal the bag while forcing out as much air as you can. Place the bag on a plate and set it in your refrigerator. After a few hours, flip the bag and leave it in the refrigerator a few more hours.

slicing a grilled london broilCut one-eighth inch slices of London broil immediately before serving.

Heat your grill to “high,” and cook the London broil for nine minutes on each side. Alternatively, cook it under a broiler for about the same duration. If the meat doesn’t come out right the first time you try this, adjust the cooking time accordingly next time.

Immediately after cooking, set the London broil on a cutting board and cover it with a large pot lid. Let it sit for ten minutes and then cut 1/8 inch slices across the end.

Serve three or four slices with ¾ cups of rice and pigeon peas (drain the liquid from a 15 oz can of pigeon peas and stir them through 2 cups of rice before cooking it normally) and a salad. If you’re “steak and potatoes” folks, have mashed potatoes instead of the rice mixture… but the rice is better for you.

With rice and pigeon peas, a dressed lettuce salad, and a cup of 1% milk, your dinner for four costs $5.34 and you’ll use up half the London broil at one meal. One serving (steak, rice and pigeon peas, salad, and milk) contains 575 calories, 24 grams of fat, 62 mg of cholesterol, and 38 grams of fiber.

dinner featuring london broil and a variety of sidesMy meal doesn’t match what I describe in the main article. There’s beef and rice with pigeon peas but not green salad. Rather, I cooked up sweet potatoes and assembled a salsa-like mixture of home-preserved vegetables and fruit. Control portions of the London Broil and keep your eye on the prices of your sides, and you can serve a beef dinner for four for under seven dollars.

This post originally appeared in the May 9, 2012 issue of the Daily Item, Sunbury, PA’s local newspaper. I made minor edits to adapt it for The Untrained Housewife.

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About Daniel Gasteiger

Daniel Gasteiger has written 8 posts in this blog.

Daniel Gasteiger is a writer and speaker. His most recent book is Yes, You Can! And Freeze and Dry It, Too from Cool Springs Press. In it, he introduces readers to several popular methods of food-preservation. Gasteiger writes gardening features and cooking columns for the Sunbury, PA Daily Item. He blogs about growing fruits and vegetables and preserving them for long-term storage. He also blogs about cooking, technology, and Internet marketing. Gasteiger teaches Internet and social media marketing and manages online marketing activities for clients.


    • says

      Rowan – Thanks for your comment! The grill IS nice, but you can cook a London Broil quite nicely under a broiler as well. With the top of the meat about six inches from the heating element, my electric broiler finishes the meat nicely in about nine minutes on a side–pretty much the same as when I use the grill.

  1. says

    I must be doing something wrong! I added our favorite Red Curry Salmon Chowder recipe, but it lists my name under the thumbnail instead of the recipe name! Help! :)
    Anne Dovel

    • says

      In the “Name” field you have to put the description how you want it to appear under the thumbnail. If you want to resubmit I can delete your first one when your new submission comes through. :-)

    • says

      Julie – Thanks for you comment. I hope you’ll have a look at other $7 Dinner posts; there are three up and more on the way. It’s a fun exercise to come up with inexpensive meals that don’t seem cheap.

    • says

      Liz – Thanks for your comment. I’ll confess: I usually put London Broil through the meat grinder to make my own hamburger–it’s extremely low-fat, and the $3.16 per pound price is way lower than packaged hamburger. Still, after the marinade, thinly-sliced London Broil is very satisfying. I cook it under the broiler when the weather is just too miserable for grilling.

  2. Erin Hatton says

    Great post! Thanks for the practical tips on cooking from scratch and economically. I think this is a lost art in our society.

    • says

      Erin – Thank you for visiting. It’s amazing how easily you can spend $10 or more for ingredients to make just a salad. Newspapers tend to feature recipes striving to be original and exceptional. I enjoy starting with the low budget and seeing how much I can squeeze out of it.

  3. says

    London Broils are one of my favorite cuts to get. Priced way better than many others, even without the big discounts. The meat goes a long ways. I like to use leftovers for steak & Eggs.

    • says

      Mark – When I use a London Broil to make ground beef, I often slice five or six thin strips and lay them into a hot frying pan for a few seconds on a side. With a touch of salt and pepper, it’s a great snack. When I grill a London Broil, my favorite use of leftovers is to dice a few ounces and use it to make a super cheesy cheese-steak sandwich. I like your steak & eggs suggestion.

  4. Shannon Bednowicz says

    Delicious!!!! We don’t eat a lot of beef, but this is a great recipe and low on the prep time as well! Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Thanks for visiting! Marinading meats and leaving bread dough to rise both extend prep time but free you to do other things. Sometimes I’ll slice the raw London Broil and marinade the pieces overnight before grilling the slices on skewers. Makes a great hors d’oeuvres.

  5. says

    Yum! I love marinating meat and getting the cheap cuts. And YES to shopping around. I know my local ethnic markets have beyond great prices on meats, which is where I get them. Except when I’m buying organic 😉

    • says

      Michelle – Buying organic can seriously bust a $7 per meal budget. I do what I can afford by planting a vegetable garden and growing various fruits. Growing your own actually makes the cost of organic produce lower than non-organic stuff you buy in grocery stores and at farmers’ markets.


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