I love beef of all kinds. Some of the toughest cuts, like London Broil, can also be the most flavorful. But you’ve got to prepare them properly first. Captain Disco has exactly the right marinade to start the process.
But first, who is this Captain Disco and what is his story?
Captain Disco is actually Captain Eric “Disco” Dominijanni. He’s a real live Captain from the US Marines 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, MCB Camp Lejeune.
His steaks won a 10 camp cook-off sponsored by Weber Grills. Before that, I saw him on an episode of Bobby Flay’s throw-downs. If you’ve never seen the show, Flay, a professional chef with a restaurant called Mesa Grill in New York, looks for restaurants that have a fabulous reputation for some dish. He then perfects his own recipe, shows up unannounced at the restaurant, and demands a throw-down. He’ll bring a group of pro Chefs to judge, and the winner is picked by a combination of whomever is in the restaurant at the time and his pro Chef panel.
He doesn’t always win, although he certainly has a lot of unfair advantages. Take the Captain Disco episode. Flay comes blasting out into the dessert in a candy civilian Hummer pursued by a refrigerator truck full of prime Porterhouse beef and other exotic ingredients. Captain Disco has just what was available at the camp PX–basic ingredients.
And yet both Captain Disco’s troops and the Pro-Chef panel picked Disco’s chuck steaks over Flay’s Porterhouse’s. Dang! I saw that and I just had to try the recipe. And I have never been sorry.
The marinade works fast. It’s recommended to use 4-6 hours, but it improves the meat in as little as 2 hours. And it’s all made from very basic ingredients:
Captain Disco’s Hot and Tangy Steak Marinade
Enough for up to 2lbs of meat.
1 can cola
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup garlic teriyaki sauce
1 habanero chili pepper, finely chopped with seeds
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon finely ground ginger
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine the ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Put your steaks into a 1 gallon zip loc bag and add the marinade. Refrigerate while marinading. Turn the bags every so often so the marinade covers the entire surface of the meat.
Smoked London Broil
2lb London Broil
Captain Disco Marinade
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Coarse Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
Chopped Basil for garnish
London Broil is a gorgeous cut of meat, and cheap if you want to entertain. There’s actually no real cut of meat called “London Broil”. You will find meat labeled as such at your grocer, but the meat is usually flank steak or top round. No worries!
In fact, “London Broil” refers to a method of preparation, and it is the method we will use here, so this recipe is legit. According to Wikipedia:
London broil is a beef dish made by broiling marinated beef, then cutting it across the grain into thin strips. Despite its name, the dish and the terminology are North American, not British.
I will assume you’ve marinaded your London Broil with Captain Disco’s special formula for at least 2 hours, and preferably more, up to overnight.
Bring your smoker up to operating temps–should be 240F. FWIW, I almost always smoke with Mesquite for this sort of dish. It burns a little hotter and has a stronger smoke flavor than other woods.
Pull the meat out of the ziploc marinade bags and hit each side with some olive oil. Salt and pepper each side thoroughly. The olive oil will help keep the steaks moist and help the salt and pepper to stick.
Then lay the steaks onto your smoker grill. You’ll wind up smoking them for 1-2 hours. Use a meat thermometer to determine doneness, and shoot for medium rare–about 145F.
You don’t want to overcook these, because it’ll toughen the meat.
While the meat is smoking, you can make a nice sauce out of the marinade. Put it in a saucepan, bring it to a boil, and drain off about half. Use that half to baste the meat while it is smoking.
Keep simmering the other half to thicken while the meat cooks.
When done, pull them off, set on a platter, and cover them with olive oil. Optionally, sprinkle on some chopped basil. Once the oil and basil are on, cover with foil. This gives a chance for juices to spread evenly throughout the meat and temps to also stabilize. Let them rest this way for about 20 minutes as you’re prepping other things.
When you’re ready to serve, slice the meat across the grain. Cutting across the grain is the final step to tenderness.