The hanger, flank, and skirt steaks come from the plate and lower abdomen region of a cow. They are a tougher variety of meat and can be difficult to cook without marinades. However, they give unique flavors if you cook them using the right technique.
If you’re unfamiliar with these three steak cuts, go through this guide to learn the basics and find out how they stack up against each other.
What is hanger steak?
The Hanger steak gets its name from the location of the meat on the cow. This portion of meat ‘hangs’ between the rib and the loin of the cow. In the past, butchers used to keep this portion for themselves; hence, it is also known by the name of Butcher’s Steak or Butcher’s cut.
What cut is hanger steak?
Hanger steak is a long and narrow but thick cut of meat. You won’t find much marbling throughout the steak because this area has minimal fat. A hanger steak is one of the most tender cuts of meat besides tenderloin and ribeye because it comes from an area in the cow that doesn’t participate in hard work.
What part of the cow is hanger steak?
A hanger steak is taken from the diaphragm or plate of the cow. This cut of meat hangs between the loin and rib of the cow and hence, is also referred to as ‘Hanging Tenderloin’ at times. You can find only one hanger steak per cow, making it expensive and rarely available at local supermarkets.
What to make with hanger steak?
If you don’t prepare them right, hanger steaks can become tough and chewy quickly. The ideal method to cook a hanger steak is broiling or grilling, but you should always marinate it before cooking in either case. Additionally, avoid cooking the cut beyond a medium-rare range for the best flavor and texture.
A hanger steak is perfect for steak and fries (steak frites); however, you can also enjoy it in beef tacos, bulgogi, and carne asada too.
Pros and Cons of hanger steak
- Tender in texture
- Has an intense, beefy flavor
- Can be chewy
What is Skirt Steak?
The skirt steak comes from a muscular area of the cow, so you can expect the meat to be relatively tougher than the hanger steak. Since the meat portion comes from the inside of the cow’s ribs and is cut from the area adjacent to a hanger steak, some people confuse it with a hanger steak at times. However, there’s a good deal of difference between the two. For instance, the skirt steak is prized for its flavor, whereas the hanger steak is known for its tenderness.
What cut is skirt steak?
A skirt steak is a long, narrow, and thin cut of meat. It is a fatty portion of beef and not particularly tender, but it makes up for lack of tenderness with flavor. Just be aware that skirt steak cooks into a chewy piece of meat, because it comes from a hardworking muscle of the cow. To reduce chewiness, be sure to cut skirt steak against the grain when serving.
What part of the cow is skirt steak?
A skirt steak is cut from the short plate of the cow, the part mainly responsible for separating the chest and abdomen of the cow. In simpler words, a skirt steak is the thin diaphragm muscle of the cow, just below its rib section.
What to make with skirt steak?
A skirt steak is the best meat cut for fajitas. You can also relish its meaty, juicy flavor in Philly cheesesteaks, pizzas, and sandwiches. The steak is also widely popular in Mexican cuisine.
The best way to cook a skirt steak is over high heat for a short time.
Pros and cons of skirt steak
- Fattier than hanger steak
- More flavorful and juicy
- Requires minimal cooking time
- Can become dry if overcooked
What is Flank Steak?
Flank steak is a less fatty cut of meat because it comes from a muscle used a lot by the cow. This steak is similar in texture to a skirt steak, but with less fat running through the meat. It takes well to marinading and grilling, and you’ll need to cook it right to bring out the ideal texture of this steak.
What cut is flank steak?
A flank steak is a long, flat cut of meat with less fat than a skirt steak. It is a lean portion of beef with a mouth-watering flavor and a coarse, chewy texture. In contrast to the skirt steak, a flank steak is more fibrous and tougher with significant grain, making it crucial to cut this steak against the grain when serving it.
What part of the cow is flank steak?
As the name suggests, a flank steak is taken from the flank region of a cow. You can find it below the loin and sirloin, on the belly region and close to the cow’s hind legs. The muscles in this area help the cow to move, which means they see a lot of use. This makes flank a tough variety of steak.
What to make with flank steak?
Since a flank steak is a flat meat cut, you can use it for stuffing and rolling recipes. Like skirt steak, flank is also a good choice for fajitas. It turns out excellent in grilling and pan-searing and can be used for making carne asada, sandwiches, tacos, etc.
Pros and cons of flank steak
- High protein and low fat
- Least expensive
- Can be difficult to cook without marinades
Hanger Steak vs Flank Steak vs Skirt Steak: Which is Best
The hanger, flank, and skirt steaks are similar to one another, and were underrated cuts of steak until a few years ago. These three steak varieties hail from and around a cow’s abdominal region, making them tougher than the traditional steak varieties (including rib eye, tenderloin, etc.). That said, they’re less expensive than traditional steak cuts (flank steak being the least expensive) as they’re not deemed as desirable as the mainstream steak varieties.
But despite their similarities, they have a few distinct characteristics that set them apart from each other. The hanger steak, for instance, is a thick cut of meat compared to the much thinner skirt and flank steaks and is also the most tender of the three. On the other hand, the skirt steak has the highest fat content, making it the most flavorful steak. And finally, the flank steak is a great all-purpose steak cut, just be sure to tenderize it with a good marinade before cooking.
If you could only have one of these steaks, I would recommend the skirt steak because it has a good amount of fat, which makes it juicy and intensely flavorful. It requires minimal cooking time and goes well in a wide variety of food, ranging from fajitas to sandwiches and BBQ. And though it can be a little tough to cook just right due to its thin nature (it’s easily overcooked), it is totally worth the effort.