Grilled Hanger Steak Recipe

Did you know that your local butcher might be holding back one of the tastiest and tenderest steaks for themselves? It's called the hanger steak, and at one time, butchers didn't sell it because they knew what a delicious steak it is (via The Spruce). The hanger steak is cut from the cow's belly just beneath the ribs, where it literally just hangs, and because that part of the cow's anatomy doesn't get much exercise, it's nearly as tender as the tenderloin but has so much more flavor.

Hanger steak takes well to marinades and grilling, and recipe developer Stephanie Rapone of Pantry to Plate shares her marinade recipe and precise method for grilling hanger steak to fork-tender perfection. "I love hanger steak because it is a thin cut that cooks quickly," Rapone told us, "but still says super tender. It's great for weeknight meals and perfect for the grill. It's not expensive, but you get great flavor from the marbling." 

Gather the ingredients for your grilled hanger steak

First, you'll need to track down the hanger steak. There are only two of these relatively small steaks on a cow, and according to Serious Eats, hanger steak used to be a pretty cheap cut of beef. But when high-end restaurants in the 1990s began serving hanger steak with high-end prices, it got more expensive.

However, it's still substantially less pricey than other more prized cuts like ribeye or tenderloin. Not all supermarket butchers carry it, however, so the day before you plan on grilling, ask your butcher to hold one for you. The marinade has everyday ingredients, so you probably already have them on hand. The herb-caper sauce features capers, fresh parsley, and fresh oregano, which can't be substituted for dried oregano.

Marinate the hanger steaks for up to two hours

Plan about three hours ahead of grilling time. The steaks need to marinate for two hours in the refrigerator, and then they need to come to room temperature, which takes another 30 or 40 minutes. A marinade doesn't make a steak more tender since it only penetrates about a quarter inch of the meat's surface, but it does add flavor, especially when you toss the steaks on a grill. Marinades need to have some sort of fat, like olive oil, to help the beef retain its moisture and create a beautiful, burnished exterior.

Rapone's marinade is simplicity itself. Get a large plastic zip-top bag, and add a quarter cup of soy sauce, a quarter cup of olive oil, a quarter cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon of garlic powder (not garlic salt!), and a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Place the steaks into the bag and seal the bag, pressing out air. Then, massage the steaks so they're evenly coated with the marinade. Put the bag in a bowl or baking dish, and refrigerate the steaks for one to two hours.

Clean the grill, then grill the hangar steaks

When you're ready to grill, take the steaks out of the refrigerator and remove them from the plastic bag. Blot the excess marinade from the steaks with paper towels, and let them come to room temperature, about 30 or 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the grill to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're using a gas grill, turn off the burner on one side. If you're using charcoal, move the coals to one side of the grill. Clean the grill with a grill brush, then dip a paper towel in vegetable oil or canola oil, and using tongs, wipe the grill with the oiled paper towel. Place the steaks on the indirect heat side (the side without the flame), and close the grill's lid. You'll need to maintain the temperature at a steady 250 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep an eye on the temperature and increase the heat if necessary.

Using a meat thermometer, cook the steaks until they hit 10 degrees lower than your desired doneness. For example, for medium doneness, the internal temperature needs to be 140 degrees, so take the steaks off the grill when they register 130 degrees. A hanger steak that's three-quarters of an inch thick will take between 15 and 20 minutes to hit 130 degrees. A thinner steak will take less time, so check its temperature after the first seven minutes, and keep checking regularly after that.

Make the herb-caper sauce for the hanger steak

While the steaks are grilling, make the easy herb-caper sauce. Rinse and finely chop the parsley and fresh oregano, and then measure out a quarter cup of chopped parsley and a tablespoon of chopped oregano and add them to a small bowl. Rinse the capers, then roughly chop them, and add them to the bowl with the herbs. Use a microplane grater or garlic press to process the garlic into a paste, then add it to the bowl. Add two tablespoons of lemon juice, a quarter cup of olive oil, a quarter teaspoon of red chili flakes, and a quarter teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Stir everything together so it's well-combined, then taste the sauce, and add more salt or red chili flakes if desired. Set the sauce aside.

Sear and slice the hanger steaks, then serve with the herb-caper sauce

When the steaks have reached 10 degrees lower than the targeted temperature, take them off the grill, and increase the heat. The grill needs to be very hot for searing the steaks. Once it's hot, put the steaks back on the grill, and sear them for three to five minutes on each side, or until they reach your targeted doneness. Take the steaks off the grill, and transfer to a cutting board. Let them rest for five minutes before slicing the steaks against the grain. Serve with a spoonful of the herb-caper sauce, and enjoy!

Grilled Hanger Steak Recipe
5 from 47 ratings
Hanger steak takes well to marinades and grilling, and recipe developer Stephanie Rapone of Pantry to Plate shares her marinade recipe.
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
4
servings
grilled hanger steak
Total time: 25 minutes
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup olive oil, divided
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 ½ pounds hanger steak (similar size pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes, or more to taste
Optional Ingredients
  • Vegetable or canola oil, for oiling the grill
Directions
  1. Combine ¼ cup of soy sauce, ¼ cup of olive oil, ¼ cup of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper in a zip-top bag. Place the steak into the bag. Seal the bag, then massage the steak a bit so it's covered with the marinade. Transfer the steaks to the refrigerator, and let them marinate for 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Take the steaks out of the refrigerator, and remove them from the bag. Blot the steaks with paper towels to soak up the excess marinade. Let the steaks come to room temperature while you preheat the grill to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Turn off the burner on one side of the grill, or if using charcoal, move the coals to one side of the grill. Clean the grill with a grill brush. Using tongs, dip a paper towel in vegetable or canola oil, and wipe the grill.
  4. Lay the steaks onto the grill, and keep an eye on the temperature to make sure it stays at a constant 250 degrees.
  5. Cook the steaks until the internal temperature of the steak reaches 10 degrees lower than your target finished temperature. For example, a medium doneness has a final temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so take the steaks off the grill when they hit 130 degrees. A thin steak will take less time to reach the targeted internal temperature, so check the steaks after the first 7 minutes.
  6. While the steaks are cooking, make the herb-caper sauce. Rinse and chop the parsley and oregano. Measure the herbs after you chop them (¼ cup of parsley, 1 tablespoon of oregano), and add them to a mixing bowl.
  7. Rinse 3 tablespoons of capers, roughly chop them, and add them to the bowl with the herbs. Use a micro grater or garlic press to paste the 2 cloves of garlic, and add the paste to the bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, ¼ cup of olive oil, ¼ teaspoon of red chili flakes, and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. Stir well and taste. Add salt and/or chili flakes as needed. Set aside.
  8. Remove the steaks from the grill, and turn the heat up on the grill so it's very hot for searing the steaks. Once the grill is hot, put the steaks back on the grill, and sear them for 3 to 5 minutes per side until they're just under your targeted internal temperature (140 degrees for medium).
  9. Let the steaks rest for 5 min before slicing, and serve with the herb-caper sauce.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 608
Total Fat 49.1 g
Saturated Fat 12.4 g
Trans Fat 1.2 g
Cholesterol 110.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 8.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.4 g
Total Sugars 1.7 g
Sodium 1,225.7 mg
Protein 36.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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