You want to make sure that you cook your hanger steak to medium-rare or medium, no more, no less. Unlike, say, a ribeye steak, which will still be pretty tender and juicy at medium or beyond, a hanger steak has a very coarse texture with a distinct grain running through it. Anywhere beyond medium, and it gets too rubbery to chew.
Very high heat is essential as well. Hanger steaks are relatively thin, and you want to give them a nice char before they get a chance to start overcooking.
Note: An equivalent weight of skirt, flap, or flank steak can be used in place of hanger steak.
- 2 pounds hanger steak, trimmed of excess fat and silverskin (see note)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 4 large sprigs parsley (leaves and stems), roughly chopped
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
- Kosher salt
Place hanger steaks in a shallow baking dish or plate and rub with olive oil. Add peppercorns, garlic cloves, parsley, and shallot, and 1 tablespoon salt and rub until seasonings are evenly coating surface of steak. Transfer to a plastic zipper-lock bag and seal, squeezing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.
Remove steaks from bags, remove all seasonings, and discard. Season steaks with more salt, then place directly over hot side of grill. Cook, turning frequently until well-charred and an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each steak registers 125°F for medium rare or 130°F for medium, about 8 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice against the grain and serve.
Alternatively, to finish indoors: Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil in a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet over high heat until shimmering. Remove steaks from bags, remove all seasonings, and discard. Season steaks with more salt. Add steak to pan and cook, turning frequently, until an instant-read thermometer registers 120 to 125°F for medium-rare, or 130°F for medium, reducing heat as necessary if steak smokes excessively or starts to burn. Transfer to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and allow to rest 5 to 10 minutes. Slice against the grain and serve.