Pan Seared Hanger Steak

PREP TIMEREST TIMECOOK TIMETOTAL TIME
5 mins45 mins to 24 h10 mins1 to 24 hours

When cooked and sliced correctly, hanger steak is incredible. It’s very tender with a strong, beefy flavor that’s hard to beat. Let me walk you through a simple pan-seared hanger steak recipe. You only need garlic, butter, pepper, salt, and thyme or rosemary to bring out the steak’s flavors. Follow along, and I’ll show you how to make it and give you some tips to ensure it turns out awesome.

The Ingredients You’ll Need

To make a delicious, tender, and juicy hanger steak on your stovetop, you’ll need:

  • A whole hanger steak (after trimming, you’ll get two separate steaks)
  • 1 tablespoon high-smoke point oil (I recommend avocado oil)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 thyme or rosemary springs

The Tools You’ll Need

  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Tongs
  • Instant Read Thermometer

How to Cook Hanger Steak on a Stove

Here’s a step-by-step guide to cooking a hanger steak in a skillet and why this method works so well. The aim is to get that perfect crust and achieve medium-rare doneness. Be sure to check out my tips along the way; they make this recipe stand out.

Note: I used a 2-pound piece of meat for this recipe, which I cut into two hanger steaks. Please remember that these steaks vary in thickness and size.

all ingredients for pan seared hanger steak
Ingredients: Black pepper, garlic, salt, butter, avocado oil, rosemary, and hanger steak

Step 1: Prepare the Hanger Steak

Alright, let’s prepare the hanger steak. First, trim it into two pieces by removing that long, tough sinew in the middle. Once you’ve got your two pieces, dry them off as best as possible. An important tip: Use a thicker hanger steak for searing first. Also, cook one piece at a time since different cuts vary in thickness, making it hard to cook them together.

Now, let’s talk about salting. When’s the best time? Well, that’s up to you, but here are the most popular options:

  • Option 1: This is my favorite. Generously sprinkle salt on all sides of the hanger steak, then place it on a wire rack in the fridge overnight. This way, the salt works its magic. Don’t forget to let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking it the next day.
  • Option 2: If you don’t want to wait all night, just salt it, set it on the wire rack, and leave it at room temperature for about 45-60 minutes before cooking.

Here’s the thing about salting hanger steak: right after you salt it, the surface gets moist in 2-3 minutes. But give it an hour, and the meat will reabsorb most moisture. Trying to sear the steak anytime between 2-3 minutes and an hour after salting isn’t a good idea. You can’t get that perfect crust if the steak’s surface is wet. It needs to dry out first. What I like to do is salt the steak the day before I plan to cook it. Just leave it in the fridge overnight. Trust me, when you take it out the next day, you’ll notice how dry it is on top – that’s perfect for searing. Plus, the flavor gets so much better overnight thanks to dry brining.

If your hanger steak is ready, move to step 2 in the recipe.

salt seasoned hanger steak
Hanger steak, 24 hours after salting

Step 2: Preheat the Cast-Iron Skillet

Heat cast-iron skillet over medium-high for about 2-3 minutes. Add a tablespoon of refined avocado oil and let it warm up for a minute. The pan should now be between 400 and 475°F, perfect for searing a hanger steak.

While the pan heats, season the hanger steak with finely ground black pepper on all sides.

Cast iron skillet heated to 473 degrees F.
Cast iron skillet heated to 473 degrees F.

Step 3: Place the Hanger Steak in The Skillet

Place the seasoned hanger steak into a super hot skillet. Keep flipping it every 30 seconds. Once the thermometer shows 90°F, turn the heat down to medium-low. Now, you’re ready for the next step.

Note: Don’t worry about flipping the steak too much. If this is your first time cooking steak, flipping it more often helps it cook evenly and lets you see that beautiful crust forming.

Step 4: Add the Herbs, Garlic, and Butter

Add the butter, garlic cloves, and a bit of thyme or rosemary. Let the butter melt, and while it does, quickly sear the sides of your hanger steak.

Is butter all melted? Cool. Tilt the pan so all the melted goodness gathers on one side. Grab a spoon and start basting the hanger steak with the melted butter for about 30 seconds on each side. You can skip the basting and flip the steak in the butter; the results will be almost identical.

Continue cooking until your instant-read thermometer reads about 20°F below your target temperature. Then, take the hanger steak out of the pan immediately. For example, if your target temperature is 130-135°F, remove the hanger steak when it reaches between 110-115°F. Wondering why? The FAQ section below has all the answers.

Hanger steak seared in a cast iron skillet with butter, rosemary, and garlic.
Hanger steak seared in a cast iron skillet with butter, rosemary, and garlic.

Step 5: Let the Pan-Seared Hanger Steak Rest

The only thing left is to let the hanger steak rest for about 6-7 minutes. Trust me, don’t skip this part. It’s just as crucial as everything else we’ve done.

Now it’s slicing time. Here’s a super important tip: always slice the hanger steak against the grain. Hanger steak, like flank or skirt steak, has long fibers. If you cut along them, you’ll have a chewy bite.

Remember the butter, garlic, and herbs left in the pan? Now’s the perfect moment to bring them back into play. Serve them up with your beautifully sliced hanger steak.

Cooked hanger steaks
Cooked hanger steaks
pan-seared hanger steak; medium-rare doneness
Pan-seared hanger steak; medium-rare doneness
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Hanger steak seared in a cast iron skillet with butter, rosemary, and garlic.

Pan-Seared Hanger Steak

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  • Author: Adam Wojtow
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Rest Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 hours 15 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Enjoy the rich, beefy flavors of a perfectly pan-seared hanger steak with this simple recipe. Follow these easy steps to get a tender, juicy steak with a great crust every time.


Ingredients

  • A whole hanger steak (after trimming, you’ll get two separate steaks)
  • 1 tablespoon high-smoke point oil (I recommend avocado oil)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter
  • 23 garlic cloves
  • 2 thyme or rosemary springs

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Hanger Steak: Trim the hanger steak into two pieces by removing that long, tough sinew in the middle, then pat them dry. Due to varying thickness, use a thicker piece for cooking first and cook one steak at a time. 

    Now it’s time to salt the steak; however, the timing of the salting depends on when you plan to sear the hanger steak. Salting Options:

    Option 1: Generously salt all sides, place on a wire rack, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
    Option 2: Salt the steak on all sides, set it on a wire rack, and leave it at room temperature for 45-60 minutes before cooking.

  2. Preheat the Cast-Iron Skillet: Heat the skillet over medium-high for 2-3 minutes, then add a tablespoon of avocado oil and wait a minute. In the meantime, season steak with black pepper.
  3. Sear the Hanger Steak: Place hanger steak in the hot skillet. Flip every 30 seconds until internal temperature reaches 90°F, then reduce heat to medium-low. Now, you’re ready for the next step.
  4. Add the Herbs, Garlic, and Butter: Add butter, garlic cloves, and thyme or rosemary. Let the butter melt while quickly searing the sides of your hanger steak. Tilt the pan to gather the melted butter and baste the steak for about 30 seconds on each side, or flip the steak in the butter for a similar result.

    Cook until the thermometer reads 20°F below your target temperature, then remove the steak from the pan. For example, if your target is 130-135°F, remove the steak at 110-115°F.

  5. Rest the Hanger Steak: Let the steak rest for 6-7 minutes. Trust me, this step is crucial; don’t skip it. When slicing, always cut against the grain to avoid chewiness. Don’t forget to use the pan’s leftover butter, garlic, and herbs to serve with your beautifully sliced hanger steak.

     


FAQs

When’s the best time to take a hanger steak off the pan? 

When cooking a steak from scratch in the pan, it’s smart to remove the hanger steak from the pan at about 20°F below your target temperature. Don’t worry. Let the steak rest for 6-7 minutes, and thanks to carryover cooking, it’ll hit the perfect temperature. Many people miss this trick, which often leads to overcooked steak.

Some suggest removing the steak just 5-10°F below the target temperature, but that’s bad advice. After being removed from the heat, the steak’s internal temperature usually jumps by about 20-30°F. So, keeping this in mind is key to not overcooking your steak. Check out my guide on How Long to Rest Steak to learn more.

What is the ideal doneness for a hanger steak?

Medium-rare doneness is the way to go for hanger steak. It’s juicy, tender, and packed with flavor. But cooking it more than medium? I wouldn’t recommend it – it gets too tough and chewy. Of course, it’s all about what you like. Your steak, your rules. So, no hard feelings if medium-rare isn’t your thing.

Hanger steak cooked to medium-rare
Hanger steak cooked to medium-rare

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Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam Wojtow is a Polish entrepreneur and writer who founded Steak Revolution in 2020 because of his passion for steaks. Adam has been cooking steaks for over five years and knows a lot about them, including the different types of steak cuts, how long to cook them, and the best ways to cook any steak.

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