Hanger Steak, Chef’s Choice

By Chef Judi Gallagher –

A chef’s preferred steak dinner? Hanger steak. Almost every time.

Also known as a bistro steak and similar to a flank steak, a hanger steak is flavorful and versatile. These is nothing more appealing to a chef than a marinated piece of hanger steak, perhaps topped with buttered panko crumbs, aged Stilton and a reduced cabernet sauce.

Chefs aren’t the only professionals who prize this cut of beef. Butchers traditionally save the hanger steak for their own meals at home. It’s time you knew what they know. Hanger steak is a bargain and a treat.

Hanger steak is best when marinated and then broiled or grilled, cooked to a rare or medium rare to avoid toughness. Hanger steak is a better cut of cow than skirt steak and I highly recommend using a hanger steak for flavorful fajitas, along with spicy guacamole and fresh chopped pickled vegetables or Korean style. Chef Ming Tsai of the famed Blue Ginger restaurant in the Boston area shared this marvelous Asian hanger steak recipe. It’s easy to make and sure to impress your family or guests with bold flavors and a respect for this under-appreciated cut of meat.

Hanger Steak, Barbeque Korean Style
(4 servings)

1/2 cup Korean chile bean paste (gochu-jan)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup thin soy sauce
1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 cup canola oil
1/4 cup sesame seed oil
1 cup chopped scallions
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
3 pounds hanger steak, sinew removed
Sliced green scallions, for garnish
Fried shallots, for garnish (optional)

In a food processor, add chile paste, garlic, ginger, vinegar, sugar, soy and black pepper. Blend well than drizzle in the oils. While still running, add the scallions and cilantro. Check for seasoning. It should not be salty since salt is added right before grilling. Remove 1/2 cup of the marinade and reserve for sauce. In a dish, completely coat the hanger steak with remaining marinade and let rest in refrigerator overnight. On a hot, oiled grill, season hanger with salt and grill, about 8 minutes for medium-rare.

Gochu-Jan (Korean chile paste) Sauce
1/2 cup of above marinade
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Juice of 1 lemon
Mix all in a bowl.

Cucumber Kimchee and Sesame Fried Rice
4 cups rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 English cucumbers (hothouse), 1/8-inch half moon slices
2 large red onions, 1/8-inch slices
1/2 cup sliced garlic
1/4 cup Korean chile flakes (gocho-karu)
4 halved Thai bird chiles, de-seeded
1 cup scallions, 1/2-inch pieces

In a large non-reactive pan, heat the vinegar, sugar and salt. When boiling, add the cucumbers, onions, garlic, chile flake, chiles and scallions. Bring back to a boil, pull off heat and let stand to room temperature. Store in a glass jar with a loosened lid at room temperature to ferment slightly. After 2 days at room temperature, store in refrigerator.

Sesame Fried Rice
Canola oil to cook
4 large whole eggs
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
6 cups cooked jasmin rice, cooled and broken up (usually day old)
1/2 pound picked bean sprouts
2 tablespoons thin soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

In a hot wok coated with canola oil, quickly scramble the eggs to soft stage. Set aside. In the same hot wok coated with oil, add garlic, ginger and scallions. Cook until soft then add rice, bean sprouts, soy and sesame oil. Season and add back the eggs. Heat thoroughly and check for seasoning.

Plating: On a large white plate, zig-zag the sauce. Place small mound of rice and top with hanger steak sliced in half, on the bias. Place kimchee on top and garnish with sesame seeds, scallions and fried shallots.

Hanger Steak with Pinot Noir Reduction and Bleu Cheese
(Adapted from Napa Valley Greystone Cookbook, serves 4)

1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 thyme sprigs
Four 8-ounce hanger steaks, trimmed of excess surface fat

Crispy Shallots
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, for dusting
4 small shallots peeled, cut into 1/8-inch slices and separated into rings
2 cups canola oil, for frying
1/4 tsp. salt, or as needed

Pinot Noir Sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots (about 2 ounces), peeled and finely chopped
1 cup Pinot Noir
1 cup rich chicken or beef stock
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon cold butter
1/2 tsp. salt, or as needed
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or as needed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 freshly ground black pepper
24 small grapes
4 ounces Point Reyes blue cheese (or another blue cheese), at room temperature

For the marinade: Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Place the steaks in a non-reactive dish just large enough to hold them. Pour the marinade over the steaks, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours, turning at least once.

For the crispy shallots: While the steaks are marinating, place the flour in a medium bowl. Toss the shallot rings to coat lightly with flour. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the canola oil (about 2 inches deep) to 360 degrees. Carefully add the shallot rings and fry until crispy and golden brown, about 1 minute. Remove the crispy shallots with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.  Sprinkle with the salt and reserve.

For the pinot noir sauce: In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the shallots and sauté until softened but not brown, about 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the wine to a thick sauce, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the stock and reduce by at least half or until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme leaves. Remove the pan from heat and add the butter to finish the sauce. Season with the salt and pepper. Re-warm when ready to use.

Light a charcoal fire or turn the grill to medium-high heat. Remove the steaks from the marinade and scrape off any marinade still clinging to the meat. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season with the 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Grill the steaks over a medium-hot for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the steaks over and grill for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the steak registers 125 degrees for medium-rare. Place the steaks on a cutting board and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes.

While the steaks are resting, warm a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the grapes and roast, shaking the pan, for about a minute. Reserve until needed. Cut the hanger steaks across the grain into 1/2-inch slices, keeping the slices together. Place the steaks on plates and pour the pinot sauce around the steak. Sprinkle a quarter of the cheese over the top of each steak and a quarter of the crispy shallots over the cheese. Place 6 roasted grapes on each plate and serve immediately.

1 thought on “Hanger Steak, Chef’s Choice”

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