Dry aging the hanger steak will add even more complexity to an already wonderful cut of meat. Because of the inherent flavor in the hanger steak, the dry aging will subtly affect the taste, but to my mind, the big change is in the texture. For lack of a better descriptor, I would describe the texture as velvety and more refined than the non-aged hanger.
The hanger steak has more names than you can shake a stick at! For years, it was known as the butcher steak (honest reason: for years, we couldn’t give it away so it was a frequently occurring dinner at the butcher’s house). Then when the chefs discovered them as an inexpensive alternative to the traditional steaks two things happened: first, they got more expensive and second, they acquired a trendy, bistro-friendly name and morphed into hanger steak. Peel away all the layers and you get to the true name, which actually tells you a lot about the steak: “hanging tenderloin.” This is because it is second only to the filet mignon in terms of tenderness when compared to the other steaks. (Actually, that last statement isn’t entirely applicable to the steaks you’ll find here, because I’ve got quite a few that will give both the filet and the hanger a run for their tenderness money, but that’s another matter).
Since here at Flannery Beef we are also quite hip, we will henceforth refer to this cut as the hanger steak. One interesting thing about the hanger is that running right down the center of the steak is a major tendon that has to be removed. This thing is so formidable that if you didn’t remove it and started chewing on Tuesday, you’d be done by Friday. This is why the steak, while referred to as “a” hanger, will arrive in two sections. The hanger comes from the inside if the rib and is actually, along with the skirt steak, part of the diaphragm muscle. It will have a naturally darker hue to it and well as a subtly different flavor than most beef cuts.
USDA CHOICE+: While we used to source primarily USDA Prime hangers, we recently have found a source of “Choice or Higher” hangers that, quality-wise, blow the Primes out of the water! To ensure the utmost quality when producing our hanger steaks, any piece that we come across that doesn’t meet our expectation (prime or choice) gets the boot!
ANGUS CATTLE: Our hanger steaks come from Angus Cattle, raised in the Midwest. The naturally larger muscles of the Angus breed work in the favor of this cut – a Holstein hanger steak after trimming clocks in at a much smaller 14-18 oz size.
SHIP FRESH: We cut these steaks fresh the day we ship out, and once they are received they are good for 4-5 days in your refrigerator or 6-7 months in the freezer.
DRY AGED: Before these were processed into steaks, these hangers were dry aged for 14-18 days. Due to the hanger having very little protective covering (i.e., bone or fat), we do not take these out as long as our other dry aged cuts.
Slight changes to the dry aged hanger steak:
I am more circumspect on the amount of heat when grilling the dry aged hanger steak. For this, keep it to the lower side (+/- 500 degrees). Too high a temperature can push it toward the dry side, and while putting a crust through searing is perfectly fine on the regular hanger, with the dry aged hanger, it will mask the texture change, which to me is the most unique result of the aging process. Do the normal 2/3 – 1/3 method, just not too high on the heat.
The hanger steak is capable of as much heat as you’d like to throw at it, so my first rule: Do whatever you are used to. You can follow the generic cooking suggestions under the cooking tab. Remember, those times are assuming a grill temperature of 500/550 degrees. You “Big Green Eggers,” I’m looking at you — adjust the timing downward based on how crazy hot you like to cook it. Round numbers, the hanger will take about 12/14 mins total for med/rare. Some minor adjusting is necessary as with the hangers, the two pieces will vary in size after splitting. I simply base the timing on the larger piece; get that one started, then a few minutes later, throw the smaller one on. The hanger will deliver anywhere from rare to beyond medium — some have told me they prefer the texture of the slightly more done ones. Your call!