Know Your Cow: Hanger Steak
The Hanger Steak, or onglet, has long been popular in French bistros or Mexican restaurants (as part of your sizzling fajita). Made of the couple pounds of meat that “hang” between the last rib and the loin of the cow, hanger steaks are tough and grainy but extremely flavorful. Although they used to be ground into hamburger meat in America, their popularity has risen as knowledge of how to properly marinate and cook them has spread. Now you’ll find the hanger steak on the menu of many classy French-American restaurants, usually served pomme frites (with french fries). Surprisingly, the hanger steak still is largely unmarked on most beef charts.
Hanger steaks are similar to skirt steaks or flank steaks, which you’ll also find in fajitas. All three come from the same area of the cow and all three require specific cooking methods to make sure they don’t dry out. On the chart, the circled area is the hanger steak. Forward on the cow is the skirt, to the rear is flank.
Some notes on cooking hanger steaks: they’re way too tough if you cook them above medium rare, so only get one if you like it bloody. Make sure to marinate it over night if you’re cooking it yourself. Also, since there’s only about 2 pounds of hanger steak per cow, it’ll be tough and possibly expensive to feed a large group whole steaks.
According to Boo Rah, the best hanger steak in NYC is at Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain. It might be worth pouring more money into his ego to have one – this is a delicious steak that needs to be cooked just right to be appreciated. But if you’re into covering your grill & plate at home with some still-mooing bloody strips of meat, please consider the hanger steak.