Hanger steak is having a moment. 'Iron Chef' Geoffrey Zakarian explains why 'everyone wants it,' and how to cook it perfectly.

Chef Geoffrey Zakarian shares the best way to cook a hanger steak. (Photo: Getty; Geoffrey Zakarian)
Chef Geoffrey Zakarian shares the best way to cook a hanger steak. (Photo: Getty; Geoffrey Zakarian)

Hanger steak is having a moment, but chef Geoffrey Zakarian says it's not as fancy as it seems. "It used to be called a 'butcher steak'" he explains, 'because no one really wanted it, so the butcher ended up taking it home at the end of the day. It looks like a tiny filet mignon, and it used to be very inexpensive, but now everyone wants it. It's easy to cook, and it's a nice steak to put on the table if you're in a hurry."

Why is hanger steak so popular?

Zakarian shares that hanger steak has become increasingly expensive because there is a limited amount of that cut of meat on the cow. In the past, consumers did not want this cut of beef because they mistakenly believed it to be a crude cut of meat. Unlike other cuts of meat, hanger steak comes from the "plate" or the upper belly of the animal. It is known for its flavor and tenderness, unlike its tougher, larger counterpart, skirt steak.

Why is hanger steak suddenly so popular? "The internet, Food Network, 30 years of discovering new foods and new ways of cooking," the Food Network star says. "Before the internet, you didn't have all these people putting these recipes out there. Now, it's popular because it's just out there."

How to cook hanger steak

What's the best way to cook hanger steak at home? Zakarian shares all the details.

"You want to make sure it's room temperature, so take it out about two hours before you cook it," he says. "Season it heavily with salt and pepper. When I say heavily, nobody seasons enough. You've really got to get a good crust of salt and pepper on there. Then, put it in a medium-high cast iron pan, preferably one of my nonstick ones, with a little butter and olive oil, maybe a sprig of rosemary for flavor. Sear it for about 2-3 minutes on each side, let it rest for about 5 minutes, then slice it across the grain in quarter-inch pieces."

The 63-year-old restaurateur says that hanger steak is best at lunch when you're craving meat, but don't want to feel overly heavy after a meal. He says it pairs well with salad, roasted potatoes or even spread on a baguette with some aioli.

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Zakarian spoke with YahooLife on behalf of his partnership with Dash promoting his new line of cookware, Zakarian by Dash. "We are a husband and wife team, and [the team at Dash] are a husband and wife team, so we work well together," shares Zakarian. "Home cooks are amateurs. They love cooking, but you want to get them things that will make their lives easier, not just another gadget for their drawer. We want to make tools that you're going to use all the time."

"I'm for less things, not more things," he adds. "Instead of having a nonstick pan and a cast iron pan, we have a cast iron nonstick pan."

The executive chef says amateur cooks can benefit most from having the best basic tools they can afford. He says it's worth it to invest in quality tools in order to be a successful home cook, also sharing that being a great cook is all in the prep work.

"Everything worth doing takes time," he says. "When I cook something on The Kitchen it takes 10 minutes. What everyone doesn't see is the 40 people behind the camera prepping everything for us."

Ready to make hanger steak at home? Prep wisely and grab the right tools before beginning this recipe from Zakarian.

Bistro Hanger Steak with Caramelized Shallots

Courtesy of Geoffrey Zakarian

(Photo: Jeffrey Zakarian)
(Photo: Jeffrey Zakarian)

Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients:

For the steak:

  • 1 teaspoon celery salt

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 hanger steak (about 1¾ pounds); ask the butcher to remove the center sinew

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the caramelized shallots:

  • 8 shallots, cut in half through the root, skins left on

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing

  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning

Helpful Tools:

  • Sheet pan

  • Cast iron pan or heavy skillet

  • Meat thermometer

Instructions:

1. To make the steak: In a small bowl, combine the celery salt, sugar, black pepper and cayenne. Rub the mixture all over the steak. Drizzle the steak with the olive oil and rub again to coat the steak. Wrap in plastic and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Take the steak out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking.

2. To make the caramelized shallots: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss the shallots with the olive oil and thyme, then season with salt and pepper. Lay the shallots on a sheet pan, cut side down. Roast until the shallots are very tender, about 25 minutes. Set aside.

3. When you are ready to cook the steak, heat a large cast iron pan or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steak, and cook, turning once, until the internal temperature reads 125 F for medium rare, 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Take the steak out of the pan and let rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes.

4. While the pan is still hot, add the roasted shallots and heat through. Slice the steak against the grain and serve with the roasted shallots.

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