Friday, July 24, 2009

What is "London Broil," Exactly??? S&S and Shaw's, week of 7/24-7/30

Stop and Shop and Shaw's have this symbiotic relationship (or maybe they're just trying to compete with each other) where they often have the exact same stuff on sale, especially meats. This is one of those weeks. Both flyers feature something called "London Broil" on the top of the front page, so I decided to do a combined post for both stores. Stop and Shop is 1.79/lb, and Shaw's is 1.99/lb. Both good prices, but if you have the choice, of course, head over to Stop and Shop. But the question in my mind is, what on earth is London Broil? As I mentioned before, as a bargain grocery shopper I have made it my business to try all kinds of different forms of meat when they are on sale. So, I did some research about this so-called "London Broil."

First of all, I learned that London Broil is not a specific cut of beef- it is a cooking method for meat that would be otherwise tough. Basically the meat is marinated, you can broil it or grill it until it is medium rare (cook it any more and it will be too tough) and then you slice it across the grain at a 45 degree angle.

So I noticed that Stop and Shop is selling "Top Round" as London Broil, and Shaw's is selling "Shoulder Steak"- both different cuts of meat. Both come from the front of the animal, so they get lots of work when he is walking around- therefore they're pretty lean and have to be cooked carefully to be tasty. I found this handy-dandy chart that is really helpful- it shows all the different cuts of meat and explains how to cook them.

I'm not too keen on the London Broil idea... my husband and I both prefer our meat cooked a bit more than medium rare. So I wanted to know what other ways will work with these cuts of meat. It sounds like it is good for:

  • slicing thinly and marinating- to use in stir-frys, fajitas, salads, etc. The key is to cook quickly over high heat.
  • Some people suggest grinding it yourself, to make a lean ground beef. Or cut into cubes for chili.
  • If you aren't going to cook it hot and fast, you need to cook it slowly... preferably in a slow cooker. It sounds like it is tasty in the crockpot- just throw it in with some vegetables, some form of liquid, and set on low all day.
  • A burrito filling- put the meat in the crockpot with taco seasonings, a can of chiles, a can of tomatoes and a diced onion- cook on low all day- the meat should be easy to shred when it is cooked.
  • You can also cut it up and cook it in a crockpot soup.
If you decide to grill the London Broil this week (I might even try it- I might try cooking it a little longer than suggested, and if I don't like it, I can put it in the slow cooker,) you definitely have to marinate it. You do not need to buy anything at the store to marinate your meat! There is plenty of stuff at your house that you can use. I always mix up a random marinade from things I have around the house... some suggestions of things you can use-
  • a little bit of oil wouldn't hurt, especially a lean cut of meat
  • any salad dressing
  • vinegars
  • wine or beer or cola
  • condiments- ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce
  • juice- apple is great with pork, orange is great with teriyaki and ginger
  • soy sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, hot sauce...
  • herbs and spices
Obviously, don't mix all of these things together or it will be gross- but you can play around and experiment with flavors that you know you and your family like. Make sure you cut the meat into meal-sized portions and freeze the rest- you don't save money if you cook 3 pounds of meat for a family of 4.

If you're shopping at Stop and Shop, you can pick up some elbow macaroni (Stop and Shop Pasta is .75 a box) and make a pasta salad. For pasta salad, I generally cook 1/2 the box of pasta and then add whatever vegetables I have handy (peppers, carrots, celery, tomatoes all work well.) Then you can mix it up with some salad dressing (ranch or Italian work well- Ken's Dressing is $2.00 a bottle if you don't have any at home) and maybe a little bit of mayo, and season with pepper and salt to taste. If you have cheese, nuts, leftover bacon, olives, etc., all of those things would be tasty additions. If that's too complicated or you're in a hurry, you can pick up a box of Suddenly Salad for 1.50 a box and let Betty Crocker take care of the pasta salad-making for you. There isn't much on sale for fresh vegetables this week- if you don't have anything at home, Green Giant Canned Vegetables are $1 a can (I bet the S&S brand is cheaper than that, though.) Also, Romaine hearts are 2.50 for a bag of 3, and I find those go a long way- I can get a whole week's worth of salads out of 3 Romaine hearts.

If you go to Shaw's, you can get corn for .33 an ear, which isn't great but isn't awful. And the Fresh Express Complete Salads are B1G1 free- there was a printable coupon out a couple weeks ago that would make this a great deal but I can't locate it now- if you printed it out, you have some close-to-free salad! If you need to pick up a starchy side, the Shopper's Value White Rice in a 20 lb. bag is 9.99, which is about .50 a pound, and should go a very long way. (Alas, I try as much as possible to use brown rice- I wish they had that in a 20 lb. bag on sale!) An easy rice side: cook the rice according to package directions, and then dump in a can of whatever non- condensed soup you have around and heat it through (drain off any extra liquid if it's too runny). We have so much soup that we've picked up on sale- that's an easy way to use it up.

Happy Shopping!

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