A hanger steak, also known as butcher’s steak or hanging tenderloin, is a cut of beef steak prized for its flavor. Hanger steak is an often-overlooked great cut that is inexpensive and packs plenty of flavor in every bite. This is one cut of steak you really need to try, but what is hanger steak?
What is Hanger Steak?
Hanger steaks belong to the flat steak group along with flank and skirt steaks. This cut is taken from the plate, which is the upper belly of the animal, full of muscle that helps support it. The meat sits between the loin and ribs, essentially “hanging” out in that spot, giving it its unique name. In the past it was among several cuts of beef sometimes known as “butcher’s steak” because butchers would often keep it for themselves. The hanger is a very tender thin cut of steak with a robust, meaty flavor that has the potential to become a household favorite.
Hanger Steak vs Flank Steak
Hanger, flank, and skirt steaks are very similar and can be substituted in most recipes. However, you might notice quite a bit of difference is the tenderness of the cuts. The hanger is protected by the rib cage and has a good balance of meat and muscle that leaves it flavorful and tender. The flank portion comes from the end of the belly, close to the hind legs, and is very lean. Flank steaks do well with a marinade to help tenderize them. Hanger steaks can be marinated, but do not necessarily need it.
Hanger Steak vs Skirt Steak
The skirt steak is the least tender of the flat steaks and the least expensive of the bunch. It is a fibrous piece of meat that sits between the abdomen and chest of the animal. It works hard so it is full of muscle and tends to be on the chewy side. Skirt steaks should be prepared with a meat tenderizer and marinade. It is a good choice for fajitas, steak tacos, or steak sandwiches.
How to Cook Hanger Steak
Hanger steak is a versatile cut that can be cooked using your favorite method but aim for a medium-rare doneness. The hanger steak can lose its tenderness even if slightly overdone. Grilling is the most popular way to bring out the flavor of the hanger steak and get the perfect cook. Use high heat to cook them quickly and to get a perfect char.
Grilling Hanger Steak
Season with salt and pepper or a mild steak seasoning to bring out the incredible flavors without becoming overbearing. Fire up the grill and wait for it to come to full temperature. Place the steaks on the grill and cook for about two minutes on each side. Use a meat thermometer to ensure temperature is between 120° and 125°F. Remove from the grill and allow them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.