Grilled Hanger Steak with Chimichurri
1 bunch flat leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped
½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (can sub 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes (can also use a chopped fresh Fresno or jalapeno chili)
2 – 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup (approximately) good olive oil
2 – 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
GRILLED HANGER STEAK
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This is more of a guideline than an actual recipe. When at home, I just start chopping, blending ingredients and tasting for a balanced flavor. There’s no magic to the quantities listed above, so use your own palate and preferences to adjust.
When I have Fresno chilis, I chop them fine and add them. Jalapenos work, but the flavor is slightly more harsh. I always have a good quality dried red chili flake supply in the house, so this is my default spicy ingredient.
Don’t sub other types of vinegar. Red wine adds the perfect full bright flavor that makes this sauce shine. I sometimes add the zest from one small lemon and use lemon juice instead of, or in combination with red wine vinegar.
Put everything but the oil and vinegar in a bowl and mix to combine.
Add about ½ the olive oil to the mixture and stir. You want all the dry ingredients to be lightly suspended in oil and the overall consistency to be sauce-like. Add more oil as needed.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the red wine vinegar, then taste. You’re looking for a good balance of herbal and tart. Adjust to suit your taste.
Taste and do a final adjustment of the salt, chili and vinegar levels.
Optional: You can put everything in a blender and pulse lightly to chop and combine. It’s faster, but the hand-chopped version looks more appetizing, has more texture and is about 1,000 times better. But if you go that route, I won’t judge. Well, maybe I will, but not too hard.
GRILLED HANGER STEAK
High heat is required to properly cook hanger steak. The general idea is to deeply sear the outside and get a little char to add both texture and the awesome flavor that comes from a grill. I’m a firm advocate of using a charcoal grill. I personally use a Big Green Egg, which is a heavy ceramic Kamado-style grill. It easily gets up to 700+ degrees which is what you want for this cut.
A gas gill will do the job, but make sure to crank it to high and give it ample time to reach maximum temperature.
Season the hanger steak liberally with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. I know that many experts recommend leaving the pepper off, citing the reason that it can get bitter, but go with what works for you.
When the grill is up to temp, place the seasoned hanger steak on the center. Sear the steak on one side for 2 to 3 minutes to achieve a good char, then flip. Since this is a cylindrical shaped cut, continue to sear all sides. Check the temperature in the thickest part of the steak and remove from heat when it hits 125 for medium rare or 130 for medium. This is the sweet spot for the hanger steak. We highly recommend not cooking this steak to rare as it does not firm up, or well done because it will get quite tough.
Remove the steak from the grill, tent with foil and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
The hanger steak has a very pronounced grain that is easy to spot. It tends to run diagonally through the long side. Find it, then cut slices at a 90 degree angle. This shortens the muscle fibers and makes the steak more tender.
Arrange the slices on a plate and top with chimichurri. I like to keep a bowl of extra chimi on the side in case guests want a little more on their steak.