Monday, July 8, 2013

Grilled Hanger Steak Two Ways

My little brother is studying abroad in China right now and he is visiting California for a couple weeks. Today is his first day back, so I decided to cook him and my family dinner. 

I picked up some hanger steak a few days ago while I was grocery shopping. I got the inspiration for this protein after watching re-run episodes of Anne Burrell's show on the Food Network called "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef." 

This entry will give you some information about hanger steaks and a couple recipe preparations.

Photo Credit:

Hanger steak is a cut of beef that is growing more popular. It has great flavor and is relatively cheap. I bought mine from Costco for $20 for about 3 pounds (two 1.5 lb steaks). My brother told me that steaks are expensive in China, so it worked out nicely.

This piece of meat gets its name as it "hangs" from the diaphragm of the cow. It doesn't have a ton of fat and has a tough texture. To get the most out of it, you'll need to: 
  • Marinade to flavor and tenderize 
    • To soften meat, something with acid will do the trick Lemon juice is my go to, but you can also use lime juice, mustard, or vinegar (balsamic or red)
    • Wet rubs can be made quickly from pantry staples It can be as simple as olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper
  • Cook to medium rare If you like your steaks with a higher temp, this particular cut is probably not for you
    • It's a thin cut, so it cooks quickly
    • Cook on high heat to get a good sear (grilled or broiled)
    • The longer it cooks, the tougher and more fibrous it gets

Let's get cooking, shall we?

Version One: Dijon & Rosemary

Recipe Inspiration: Marinated Grilled Hanger Steak


  • 1.5-2 lbs of hanger steak, brought down to room temp Leave it out before you start prepping your ingredients
  • 4 tbsp dijon mustard
  • Juice & zest of one large lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped Smashing it first will bring out the flavor
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves removed & finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme (common, French, or English), leaves removed & finely chopped
  • Pinch of red peper flakes
  • Kosher salt I choose to season less before cooking and add more finishing salt after I've cooked & sliced the meat 
  • EVOO

Version Two: Simple Thyme

Recipe Inspiration: Grilled Hanger Steak 


  • 1.5-2 lbs of hanger steak, brought down to room temp
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme (Lemon Thyme)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 
  • Zest from one lemon
  • Pinch red peper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Cracked pepper
  • EVOO
Note: I also added a handful of chopped scallions and a tiny bit of fennel seeds. It didn't impact the flavor significantly, so you can omit. 

Cooking Instructions

Sprinkle salt over steaks. Massage wet marinade onto the meat. Drizzle with olive oil. Let sit for one to two hours outside of fridge. (You can also marinade in fridge, but will need to bring back down to room temp. You can also marinade the night before.) I had limited time to marinade, so I think I only did 15 minutes. It was still a tad tough, but tasted fine.

Heat grill. When warm, oil surface. I used my indoor grill pan, but I think you'll get a better sear and smokey flavor from an outdoor one. 

Cook meat on both sides for 4-5 minutes each. I cooked it one minute less on each side since my husband likes it more rare and I had to transfer from my kitchen to my parents home where we were dining (accounting for carryover cooking time). 

Remove steaks from heat and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. You don't want to serve as a full-sized steak since the meat is on the tougher side. Don't be alarmed when you see blood ;) 

Serve immediately after slicing. 

Tips on Slicing

  • Slice on the thinner rather than thicker side
  • Cut on the bias (diagonally, instead of rectangular bricks; think French bistro)
  • Go against the grain (meaning you want the meat fibers to go perpendicular to your cuts)


Source: Wikipedia

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