Spice-Crusted Hanger Steak

Spice-Crusted Hanger Steak
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This rich-tasting cut may look slender, but it has a seriously big, beefy flavor. Rubbed with a bold spice mixture, it's definitely not the "same old, same old" steak. Over the course of a long summer, even the most ardent steak lover might feel the need to shake things up a little. If you find yourself in that camp, pass over your usual T-bone or New York strip in favor of hanger steaks. These lesser-known cuts were once the butcher's own secret indulgence, but savvy chefs have turned them into a hot commodity in their own right. If you've never had one before, this quick spice rub will turn that first time into a memorable introduction.


  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly grated orange zest
  • ½ tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 1 ½ tsp. whole coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • ½ Tbsp. sea salt
  • 4 hanger steaks, cleaned and trimmed


  1. Beat the butter, orange zest and dry mustard together with a wooden spoon or mixer until they're well combined and slightly fluffy. Shape the butter into four small discs and set them aside on a sheet of wax paper. If it's a hot day, refrigerate them until the steaks are nearly done to keep them from melting.
  2. Set up your grill so one side reaches a high cooking temperature of 450°-500° F, while the other side receives only indirect heat. On a gas grill that means setting one side to its maximum flame, but leaving the other turned off. On a charcoal grill, rake the coals to one side of the kettle as soon as they're evenly covered with a fine coat of white ash.
  3. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds together in a dry skillet over moderate heat, until the spices become mellow and aromatic (you'll know it when you smell it) and the seeds make snapping and popping noises. Grind the toasted seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, or crush them thoroughly with the flat of a heavy knife. Combine them with the pepper, paprika and sea salt, and mix thoroughly.
  4. Blot the steaks dry with a clean paper towel. Divide the spice mixture between the steaks, rubbing it in with your fingertips. Hanger steaks have a fairly loose and open texture, so you'll be able to knead the spice mixture right into the beef.
  5. Arrange the steaks on the hot side of your grill, with enough room between them to allow good air circulation. Sear them on that first side until well browned, about 4-5 minutes, then flip them and sear for another 2-3 minutes. Slide the steaks to the cooler side of the grill and cook for up to another 8-12 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a steak reads 145° F.
  6. Remove the steaks from your grill to a warmed plate, and let them rest for at least 5 minutes. Top each with a pat of the flavored butter, then serve hot with your favorite side dishes. Refrigerate any leftovers.


Hanger steaks average 10-12 ounces, so each will serve one large appetite or two smaller ones.

Skirt steak is very similar to hanger steak, and it can be prepared the same way. It's sometimes sold in larger pieces, which can simply be cut down to the size of a hanger steak. Flank steak is denser, but can be prepared and served in the same way. It will usually take an extra 3-5 minutes of cooking time.

Hanger, skirt and flank steak all have very long muscle fibers with a distinct grain. To keep them from being unpleasantly chewy, take care to cut across the grain when you slice the steaks.

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