The Hanger Steak or Hanging Tenderloin is a connective muscle that connects the last rib and spine to the diaphragm. A grainy cut, the muscle slightly resembles a flank steak with two muscle striations forming a V, which are then usually cut in half.
The flavor is often prized with a savory offal-like taste, because of the proximity to the diaphragm and kidneys. Some chef’s actually use fat around the kidney known as SUET, to cover and flavor roasted meats. This process bastes the meat while cooking and gives some of that unique and mysterious kidney flavor.
It has been called the Butchers Steak essentially because there is only one muscle in each cow and the butcher would bring it home for his family. The two sections of the V are cut in half. French Bistro’s have made this cut more mainstream as well as creative American Bistro’s exploiting the cut. Because of low yield and high demand by meat wholesalers, you still don’t normally see Hanger available in most supermarkets. If you ask your butcher, he can generally get it for you. If not he would most likely recommend a skirt steak, flank, flap or flatiron delicious steak.
Cooking the hanger steak can require a little finesse. First of all before cooking, make sure the tough middle membrane which runs down the middle has been removed. Sometimes you can leave it in during the cooking process and cut it out at the last minute. This will allow you to keep it thicker insuring a nice rare or medium rare cooking temperature. Also if you are not fond of the gamey offal-like flavor you should give the cut a flavorful marinade. Strong assertive flavors in the marinade like red wine or balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, worstershire sauce or even soy sauce will help pack a punch of flavor and leave the gamey taste as a nuance in the background. The marinade process can also tone down some of the chewiness this cut is known for.
Grilled Hanger Steak
- 2 Hanger Steaks (8 ounce per person)
- 1 tablespoon garlic
- ½ teaspoon dried or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1.5 ounces (4 table spoons) olive oil
- Salt and fresh pepper
- 1 tablespoon Dijon, Worcestershire or vinegar for additional flavoring if desired
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