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What is Hanger Steak? Where to Buy and How to Cook it

In this article, we take a look at the hanger steak: Where it comes from, why it has that name, how to source it, how to cook it, and more.

Emma Braby

Last Updated: October 12, 2020

Hanger steak on a slate chopping board with some pink pepper

The Hanger steak has long been a favorite in Europe due to its flavor and tenderness.

Not many people elsewhere are aware of this cut or have ever cooked it merely because until now, it has been the butcher’s secret cut.

The Hanger steak is relatively new in the US. Still, it has recently gained popularity in steak restaurants across the country due to its intense flavor and versatile use in many beef dishes.

Most people discover it in a restaurant, but when they come to recreate their newfound favorite dish at home, they can’t find it at their local supermarket or butcher.

The Hanger heartbreak is real, but thankfully it’s rising popularity means this won’t be a problem for too much longer.

So, in this guide, we will make sure you walk away with the knowledge on all things Hanger.

You’ll discover what it is, where it’s from, what it tastes like, and most importantly, how to get your hands on one and what to do with it.

So, sit back, relax, and hang with us!

What is Hanger Steak?

Quite simply, the hanger steak is a tasty piece of beef that ‘hangs’ from the diaphragm of the cow along the lower belly, hence its name.

Hanging right by the kidneys and doing literally no work, it is an incredibly tender piece of meat with lots of flavor thanks to the marbling.

In fact, it’s usually the most tender cut on the animal, second only to the Tenderloin.

Take a quick peek at the knowledgeable butcher, Scott Rea discussing it in this video where he covers where it comes from, and how to trim and prepare one for cooking.

Where Does Hanger Steak Come from on the Cow?

There is a clue in the name of the Hanger steak. It is a select cut prized for its full flavor that hangs from the diaphragm of the steer.

This section of the animal is referred to as the plate primal.

Diagram showing the plate primal on a cow

The Hanger is the crura, or legs, of the diaphragm itself, which is attached to the last rib and front of several lumbar vertebrae.

It is a roughly V-shaped muscle pairing that has an inedible membrane down the middle.

Note: For a complete look at all popular beef cuts and where they come from, check out our beef cuts guide.

Other Names for the Hanger Steak

It is an easily butchered cut of beef and highly recommended by butchers and chefs alike, but as each animal only produces two steaks each, it is in short supply and as such comes at a slight premium.

Coming to popularity in the USA in the 90’s after pop culture restaurants took to offering it as a more affordable tender steak compared to the popular Ribeye and strip steaks.

Across the globe it has a few names:

  • Butcher’s steak, so-called because butchers would often keep it for themselves because they loved the rich flavor of it, and it was one of their best-kept secrets.
  • Skirt steak is the name sometimes given to it in the United Kingdom. Somewhat confusing as there exists a separate skirt steak that is cut from the same area of the animal.
  • Onglet is the name given to the steak in France where they use it for the infamous steak frites (posh steak and fries).

Hanger now seems to be the commonly accepted name for it should wish to go searching for it, but just in case, the industry ID number is 140.

Flavor, Texture, Fat Content and Tenderness

If you like intense beefy flavor, you will love the Hanger steak.

It has a similar texture to that of Skirt steak, a thready and grainy consistency but very tender.

A great piece of Hanger steak will have a good amount of marbling too, which means plenty of fat to provide that beefy rich flavor.

It is a cross between the rich flavor of the Ribeye, with the tenderness and melt-in-the-mouth palatability of the Tenderloin.

Typical Uses

As a popular restaurant choice in many countries, the Hanger steak is commonly cooked plain and seasoned or marinated with sides.

Travel to South America or Mexico, and you will see it commonly used for fajitas and tacos, or served with Chimichurri sauce as it can handle the spicy sauce while still offering big meaty flavor.

Hanger Steak Nutrition

NutritionTotal Amount% Daily Value (based
on 2000 calories/day)
Calories1748.7
Saturated Fat8g12%
Sodium60mg3%
Protein24g47%
Iron2.2mg13%
Zinc5mg35%

Buying Hanger Steak

It’s not readily available from butchers and supermarkets due to the fact each steer produces just two steaks, compared to other cuts of meat that provide numerous steaks.

A lot of craft butchers will know what it is and have some for sale (although you’ll probably need to be the first in the queue), or you can order it easily online at specialist meat producers.

It usually comes as a 1lb steak, but smaller cuts are available, trimmed, and ready to cook, but sometimes you can get it with the surrounding fat still attached.

Where to Buy Hanger Steak Online

Do you fancy a great quality juicy steak delivered to your door, so all you have to do is cook it?

If that’s a yes, check out some of the fantastic online meat outlets. You can browse all of the tantalizing cuts and all of the possible recipes for you to try.

Here are three online outlets that sell some of the best hanger steaks available:

  1. Crowd Cow
  2. Farmison.com
  3. Lobels

Hanger Steak Price

Because this cut isn’t that common, it means the price will vary depending on where it’s sourced from and the supply line it travels along.

At the time of writing, it was available for an average of $13 to $24 per/lb from mainstream sites and online meat markets. But if you’re seeking the highest quality, it can be as high as $38 per/lb.

So, shop around and see where you can get the best mix of price and quality.

Portion Size: How Much Hanger Steak Per Person?

How much you rustle up for dinner is dependant on your appetite, but it is typically sold in a 1lb. piece, and most will cook that for four people.

4oz per person is plenty due to its intense beef flavor, especially if it’s accompanied with tasty sides.

Best effort guidelines suggest that a well-cooked steak loses around 25% in weight once cooked, so that means a 4oz becomes 3oz, so bear this in mind if you have some big eaters around the table.

How to Prepare Hanger Steak for Grilling or Smoking

hanger steak isolated on white
Courtesy of BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com

The Hanger steak is an excellent cut of meat that takes to all kinds of cooking methods well, and because of its strong flavor, it stands up well against a good marinade or smoke.

If cooking as a simple plain steak, you need nothing more than a liberal seasoning with salt and pepper.

If trimmed from a butcher it will need no extra cutting. It can be cooked as it is, as a large piece of meat thrown into a marinade and left overnight before grilling or smoking to perfection.

How to Cook Hanger Steak on a Grill or Smoker

The Hanger is best cooked ‘high and dry’ on a searing hot grill –  or perhaps with the afterburner method of cooking steak – and because it’s a relatively thin piece of meat, it only needs 3 to 4 minutes each side.

It’s recommended not to go over medium-rare, as owing to it’s long, striated muscle fibers it becomes tough and chewy.

If the meat isn’t patted dry before cooking, the extra moisture will prevent a good char and sear before it’s cooked, and then you run the risk of overcooking in search of that sear.

If you want to smoke your Hanger it’s best done as a reverse sear setup.

Prepare the smoker as normal, place the meat in with or without marinade, and cook until around 10 degrees away from the perfect temperature as per your preference.

At this point, have the grill ready (or a red hot skillet) and sear the steaks on each side for a minute or so to get that extra charred flavor.

You will find many guides to cooking your Hanger on a grill or skillet, so for contrast here’s our guide to smoking it:

  1. Prepare your smoker with your wood of choice and heat to around 225f – a good smoker thermometer is your friend here.
  2. Pat the steaks dry and bring to room temperature.
  3. Place your steaks in the smoker until 10 degrees underdone as measured with an instant read thermometer.
    • Rare – 115° (Finished temp 125°)
    • Medium Rare – 125° (Finished temp 135°)
    • Medium – 135° (Finished temp 145°)
  4. Preheat the grill to very hot.
  5. Remove steaks at the desired (nearly done) temp, place onto the grill and sear both sides until the correct temperature is reached for your wanted finish.
  6. Allow to rest for a few minutes, slice against the grain to serve and enjoy.

Three Best Hanger Steak Recipes from Around the Web

grilled and sliced hanger steak with chimichurri and Brussels sprouts

Flavor is the reason you cook a Hanger, and it’s dripping with it, so with that in mind, you need some good flavorful recipes to accompany it.

Here are some of our favorite recipes using this cut:

Reverse Seared Smoked Bourbon Hanger, from Or Whatever You Do

This great recipe shows you how to smoke your hanger to perfection and then smother it with a bourbon glaze, pure unadulterated sticky sweetness to go with you taste packing hanger.

https://www.orwhateveryoudo.com/2019/01/hanger-steak.html

Grilled Hanger Steak with Flambadou Bone Marrow and Chimichurri, from FoodFireFriends

A melting bone marrow basted hanger cooked to mouth-watering proportions, coupled with homemade zingy Chimichurri sauce.

This is a delight awaiting those who can handle the robust flavors.

https://www.foodfirefriends.com/grilled-hanger-steak-flambadou-bone-marrow/

Simple Seared Hanger with Lemon Butter, from My Recipes.

This recipe really makes the most of a simply cooked Hanger steak, but with a twist, brussels sprouts!

Once your steak is cooked to perfection, you use the hot skillet for cooking off potatoes and brussels sprouts for a side, with lemon and herb butter to give it some zing.

While brussels are a marmite vegetable, we think you’ll love this recipe!

https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pan-seared-hanger-steak-with-brussels-sprouts-potatoes-and-lemon-herb-butter

Conclusion

The Hanger is a flavorful fancy, packing huge beef aromas and taste with incredible tenderness, it is undoubtedly one not to be missed.

The rarity of it at your local supermarket means it can be saved for special occasions, but when ordered and delivered, it will feed the family with minimal fuss while ensuring huge satisfaction.

So, whether you’ve tried it before, or have never heard of it, pick a recipe and enjoy the succulent Hanger in all its glory.

Whether you pick one of our favorite recipes, or if you choose to experiment with a different one, share your successes with us in the comments below.

Hey, I’m Emma Braby, a contributing author here at FoodFireFriends.

I like to write about current BBQ trends, juicy recipes and to let our readers into tricks and tips that I’ve learnt along my BBQ journey.

I currently cook on a Kamado Joe Classic II and a Pro Q Smoker, and love nothing more than having my friends and family round at the weekend trying out my new tasty recipes.

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