What is Hanger Steak?

The Hanger steak is a cut of beef from a cow’s short plate area. It boasts a strong beefy flavor and a decent tenderness when cooked to medium-rare doneness. Although its price has increased over time, the Hanger steak still holds its value and is considered an excellent choice for steak enthusiasts. It offers an affordable alternative to premium steaks such as ribeye or strip.

You might be curious about the origin of the term ‘Hanger Steak’. It might surprise you to learn that the name “hanger steak” actually reflects the physical appearance of this cut on the cow; it ‘hangs’ from the diaphragm. Another interesting fact, which additionally impacts its price, is that there is only one hanger steak per animal, which, when trimmed, yields two long-shaped steaks.

A hanger steak might not resemble a typical steak at first glance. However, it quickly transforms with proper preparation, which includes trimming excess fat and removing the central sinew. Once you’ve done this, you’ll end up with two long steaks. To make cooking in the skillet easier, we recommend dividing them in half. Below, you will find photos of the raw hanger steak after trimming.

The hanger steak, trimmed to perfection with the sinew removed from its center.
The hanger steak has been cut in half and seasoned with a touch of salt.
The hanger steak, after being salted and left in the fridge for 24 hours.
The hanger steak, after being salted and left in the fridge for 24 hours.

Other Names for Hanger Steak

In the United States, the Hanger Steak goes by various names, including the Hanging Tenderloin, Butcher’s Steak, Butcher’s Cut, or even Bistro Steak. The names “Butcher’s Steak” and “Butcher’s Cut” have historical significance, as butchers used to reserve this exceptional cut for themselves, indicating its high quality. At that time, only a few people knew the deliciousness of hanger steak.

In Europe, hanger steak goes by names such as Onglet in France, lombatello in Italy, and solomillo de pulmón in Spain.

In the UK, however, the term used for hanger steak is “skirt steak.” However, please don’t confuse it with the skirt steak in the US, as these are completely different cuts. The hanger steak should not be mistaken also for the flap steak (flank steak), which is another different cut.

Where Does the Hanger Steak Come From on a Cow?

The hanger steak comes from the plate area of the cow, a section located just below the tenderloin on the left side. This steak, a long strip of meat, hangs from the diaphragm, hence the name.

Buying Hanger Steak

Hanger steak is in limited supply, with the highest quality cuts often reserved for restaurants rather than the regular consumer. Therefore, if you wish to purchase hanger steak, we recommend speaking with your local butcher or ordering online from a trustworthy butcher shop that delivers to your doorstep.

If quality is important to you, consider what Snake River Farms, Crowd Cow, and Porter Road have to offer. However, be aware that these retailers might have a waiting list due to the limited availability of this particular cut.

Based on our experience, here’s a useful tip: The steak should be thick enough to form a good crust without overcooking in the center. Unfortunately, hanger steak is sometimes sold in too-thin versions. Therefore, it’s essential to purchase only thick hanger steak and ensure the seller isn’t trying to sell you a thinner version. However, it can be challenging to verify this when buying online. In such cases, we recommend purchasing from reputable beef suppliers only.

We once bought a hanger steak that was merely 0.5 inches thick. Yup, it was our big mistake. Despite the challenge, we decided to do our best to cook it and then slice it thinly for a salad. Here’s how that experience turned out in practice:

Checking the Internal Temperature of a Steak with an Instant-Read Thermometer
A hanger steak, approximately 0.5 inches thick, cooked to medium doneness in a cast iron skillet.
Hanger Steak Salad

Hanger Steak Nutrition

NutritionPortion size: 4 oz = 113 g
Total Fat6.25 g
Carbs0 g
Sodium58 mg
Protein23.2 g
Hanger steak nutrition facts based on 4-oz cut

Data source: USDA.

Hanger Steak Cooking Techniques

The hanger steak is relatively thin, making it best to cook at high temperatures to achieve a nice crust without overcooking the inside. You can cook it indoors using a skillet or outdoors on the grill. Always use an instant-read thermometer to monitor the steak’s internal temperature and cook it to no more than medium doneness (We highly recommend medium-rare doneness for the best results).

One essential tip for serving hanger steak is always to slice it against the grain. This technique shortens the muscle fibers, resulting in a more tender and easier-to-chew texture. By combining proper slicing techniques with cooking the steak to the recommended level of doneness, you can ensure that each bite is exceptionally tender and flavorful.

steak cut against the grain vs with the grain
hanger steak cut against the grain vs. with the grain

Hanger Steak FAQs

Is hanger steak tender or tough?

When cooked to at least medium rare but no more than medium and sliced against the grain upon serving, the hanger steak can rival the tenderness of some premium cuts. However, it becomes significantly tougher if cooked only to rare and sliced with the grain.

What does hanger steak taste like?

A hanger steak boasts an intense beef flavor. We suggest seasoning the steak solely with salt and pepper to enhance this beefy note. However, if you desire a unique flavor profile, consider using a marinade as a fantastic alternative. The hanger steak’s loose texture can absorb marinades effectively, creating a delightful interplay of flavors.

What is the weight of the hanger steak?

The hanger steak is a cut that typically weighs around 4 to 6 pounds (2 kg – 3 kg) before trimming. To make it more manageable for consumers, many butchers choose to trim the hanger steak and sell it in smaller portions. Once trimmed, you’ll end up with two long pieces, each weighing about 1 to 1.5 pounds (450-700g), which varies depending on the trimming method and the size of the original piece of meat.

In our opinion, these thinner portions are not ideal for achieving medium-rare doneness while still maintaining a decent crust. Therefore, we strongly recommend purchasing only thick hanger steaks as they are easier to cook to perfection.

raw hanger steak
Hanger steak in its raw version after trimming and then butterflying. – Definitely too thin to easily cook to medium-rare (only 0.5 inches thick).

Is hanger steak expensive?

Not too long ago, the hanger steak was among the most affordable cuts of beef. However, due to its growing popularity and limited availability, hanger steak prices have significantly increased. Now, the average price per pound of hanger steak ranges from $20 to $50, but remember, the final price can vary depending on the quality of the beef.

What is similar to hanger steak?

Many steak enthusiasts might suggest skirt steak as the ideal substitute for hanger steak. However, the ideal choice may vary depending on your preferred cooking method. Here are some other options you might want to consider:

  • Flank steak
  • Flat iron steak
  • Bavette steak
  • Tri-tip steak

Discover Other Beef Cuts

The world of steaks extends far beyond the well-known filet mignon and ribeye. Each cut of beef offers a unique flavor and texture, bringing something special to your plate. Take a look at some interesting steaks that share some characteristics with hanger steak:

  1. Flat Iron Steak: What Is It?
  2. Tri-Tip Steak: What Makes It Unique?
  3. Flap Steak: What Should You Know?
  4. Flank Steak: Why Choose It?
  5. Skirt Steak: What Sets It Apart?
Photo of author

Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam Wojtow, the founder of Steak Revolution, is a true steak enthusiast. His primary goal is to help others perfect their steak-cooking skills.