Tucked away in the steer’s diaphragm is an oddly shaped muscle that most butchers prefer not to talk about. That would only draw attention and demand for this little flavor-packed cut of beef that had been kept by the butchers for themselves for decades. Considering the fact that the hanger only weighs in at 1-2lbs there just isn’t enough of this hidden gem to go around. With the average steer yielding 450+ pounds of beef, a single 1-2lb piece of beef was rarely missed therefore most butchers felt it best for consumers to be none the wiser.
This one muscle is made up of two legs or “crura” that are vaguely reminiscent of the letter “V”. Its job is to support the diaphragm by connecting the last (13th) rib to the lumbar vertebrae. As a carcass hangs from the hindquarters this exposed muscle would appear to just hang down ripe for the picking, thusly, earning its nickname as the “hanger steak”.
The hanger is LOADED with flavor and is extremely tender when done properly. There are two simple things to remember to knock this out of the park. First, do not overcook this cut. At 125-130F it’s an unforgettable experience, above 140F it becomes an un-chewable experience. Secondly, make sure you slice it across the grain. Fortunately, it’s rope-like shape and coarse muscle fibers make this extremely easy to accomplish.
Even though the proverbial cat is out of the bag it can still be a bit of a challenge to find hangers. After all there only two small pieces per cow. Check our availability for this exclusive cut here.