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Hanger steak is a cut of beef that is known for its tender texture and strong, gamey flavor. It is popular in many parts of the world, including Europe and Mexico, but rarely seen in the United States. In parts of the world where hanger steak is not commonly prepared, a person may need to request this cut of meat from a butcher. Choosing the best hanger steak is similar to choosing any other cut of beef. Buyers should look for high quality, high grade beef that looks and smells very fresh.
One thing to consider when selecting the best hanger steak is the quality of the meat. In many countries, beef is inspected before it is shipped out to grocery stores and butcher shops and given a rating based on how much fat is marbled into the muscle tissue. The more fat there is in the meat, the higher the rating. Steak that has been given a higher grade will taste and cook better than lower quality meat.
When selecting any cut of meat, it is important to choose a piece of meat that is very fresh. The meat should be thoroughly inspected visually to make sure that there are no blemishes on it. Hanger steak is a dark-colored cut of beef and should have at least a few ribbons of cream-colored fat marbled into it. The raw meat should have very little odor and should not have a hint of a fishy smell, an indication that the meat has spoiled. Consumers should also handle steaks before buying in order to make sure that the texture is firm and uniform.
The diet of a cow will significantly affect the flavor of a hanger steak. This cut of beef has a very strong flavor which is why it's often marinated and cooked with strong herbs and spices. Beef that comes from cows that are allowed to graze in open pasturelands has a stronger flavor than beef from cows raised on corn or other grains in feed lots. A steak taken from a grass-fed cow will have a very strong flavor that may be too gamey for some tastes. People who enjoy strong-tasting beef may, however, prefer the flavor of grass-fed cattle.
Cattle raised on grain usually have fattier meat and a milder flavor. People who are used to eating this type of beef, which is especially common in the United States, may prefer hanger steak that comes from corn-fed cattle. The downside of this type of steak is that cows that consume mostly corn tend to have more health problems than those that are able to graze as they would in nature. Ranchers often need to treat these cows with antibiotics to keep them from becoming ill and with growth hormones to help them put on weight. The meat that comes from these cows is usually higher in calories, fat, and cholesterol.
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