Are you a meat lover who enjoys trying different cuts of beef? If so, you may have come across two popular cuts – hanger steak and flank steak.
While they may look similar and even taste alike, are they the same thing? In this article, we will explore the differences and similarities between hanger steak and flank steak.
What is Hanger Steak?
Hanger steak, also known as butcher’s steak or hanging tenderloin, is a cut of beef that comes from the diaphragm muscle of a cow. It is called “hanging tenderloin” because it hangs between the rib and loin sections in the steer’s abdominal cavity. It has a coarse texture and a grainy appearance due to its unique structure.
Characteristics of Hanger Steak
- Flavorful and juicy meat
- Tender when cooked correctly
- Best cooked medium-rare to avoid tough texture
- Usually served sliced against the grain
- Frequently used in Mexican dishes like fajitas or as a substitute for skirt steak
What is Flank Steak?
Flank steak comes from the belly muscles of a cow. It is long and flat with visible striations of muscle fibers running throughout it. Flank steak is relatively lean compared to other cuts of beef, making it an excellent choice for those looking for a healthier option.
Characteristics of Flank Steak
- Lean meat with less fat content
- Tougher texture than hanger steak but still flavorful when cooked properly
- Best served medium-rare to medium
- Sliced against the grain to enhance tenderness
- Commonly used in stir-fries, tacos, and as a substitute for skirt steak
The Differences Between Hanger Steak and Flank Steak
While both hanger steak and flank steak are delicious beef cuts, they differ in several ways:
- Location: Hanger steak comes from the diaphragm muscle of a cow, while flank steak is taken from the belly muscles.
- Texture: Hanger steak is more tender than flank steak due to its location and unique structure. Flank steak is tougher but still flavorful when cooked correctly.
- Cooking Method: Hanger steak is best cooked medium-rare to avoid becoming tough, while flank steak is best served medium-rare to medium for optimal texture.
- Uses: Hanger steak is commonly used in Mexican dishes like fajitas or as a substitute for skirt steak. Flank steak is frequently used in stir-fries, tacos, or as a substitute for skirt steak.
In conclusion, hanger steak and flank steak may look similar at first glance but are different cuts of meat. While both have their unique characteristics and uses, hanger steaks are more tender than flank steaks due to their location and structure. Regardless of which one you choose to cook with, make sure you prepare them correctly by using the appropriate cooking method.