We love steak tacos, but we also like being thrifty. That means hanger steak tacos are the perfect tacos for us!
Hanger steak is a more unusual cut of beef that you will typically only find if you specifically ask a whole animal butcher for it. It’s not very tender, but has great flavor and is an incredible cut to use for tacos.
This recipe will walk you through how to make delicious hanger steak tacos. Because hanger steaks are an unusual cut of meat, they do need a little TLC to turn into incredible tacos, but if you follow our recipe, we promise you’ll come out with some of the best tasting steak tacos you’ve ever had!
Let’s start taco’ing about hanger steak tacos!
What exactly is a beef hanger steak?
A raw beef hanger steak.
Hanger steaks are a cut of meat that come from the plate or upper belly of a beef animal. This cut “hangs” from the diaphgram of the animal, thus the name. It’s also sometimes known as the “butcher’s steak” (although a lot of steaks get that name), or a “bistro steak.”
Hanger steaks are generally v-shaped and have a long inedible membrane of fat running down the middle of them. It has a coarse texture with a muscle grain that you can clearly see, and a darker red color than many other steaks.
These are a very lean cut of meat, and when prepared correctly, can be very tender as well as having a deep, rich beefy flavor. Hanger steaks combine the slice-ability of flank steaks with the tenderness of tenderloin and the rich flavor of short ribs into one delicious cut!
How do you season a hanger steak?
You can generously season this hanger steaks with your favorite Southwest / taco seasoning.
Since hanger steaks have such a rich flavor, they can be seasoned generously. They are frequently used in Mexican cuisine, like this hanger steak tacos recipe, so Mexican and / or Southwestern rubs and marinades are great for hanger steaks.
You can make your own marinade or rub for your hanger steak tacos, use your favorite beef taco / fajita seasoning, or try one of these commercially available seasonings that we recommend:
- Frontera Red Chile Barbacoa Slow Cook Sauce
- Frontera Chipotle Garlic Taco Skillet Sauce
- Spiceologoy Chile Margarita Blend
- Urban Accents Mesa Rosa Chipotle Blend
I personally prefer dry rubbing these steaks before cooking for hanger steak tacos, because I feel the flavor sticks better when they are seasoned in this way. Other people prefer marinating and that’s fine! I’m writing this recipe just with a dry rub, but you could marinate the steak instead, if you prefer!
What’s the best way to cook a hanger steak?
This hanger steak has a hard sear – it’ll be delicious for hanger steak tacos!
We recommend cooking a hanger steak over direct medium-high heat for about five – six minutes per side, then removing it from heat, tenting it in foil to cook through, and then slicing it for serving.
We cooked our hanger steak tacos in a cast iron skillet to get a delicious crust and sear on the outside, but you can use a grill or broiler for this method as well.
We recommend cooking hanger steaks to approximately 125 – 130ºF before removing from heat. Because they are such a lean cut of meat, if you cook them further, they will lose tenderness.
Are there other ways you can cook a hanger steak?
Of course there are! Here are two suggestions on great ways to cook hanger steaks:
- Hanger steaks are a perfect candidate for cooking with a sous vide cooker. Simply seal the steak in a vacuum bag, cook it at 125º for 2 – 3 hours, then remove from the bag, season, sear, and slice for hanger steak tacos!
- Alternatively, you could reverse sear this steak by seasoning it and putting it in a 350ºF oven for 20 – 30 minutes, until it reaches 120ºF, then removing it from the oven and searing in a hot pan for 2 minutes per side.
How do you recommend cutting hanger steaks into taco meat?
You can further cut these portions in half if you like smaller pieces of steak for your hanger steak tacos.
Hanger steaks are a bit tricky to cut, and each steak is a little different. Here is my general method for slicing hanger steaks up for hanger steak tacos:
- Locate the membrane in the middle and cut on either side of that, separating the steak into two pieces. If you see more membrane on the inside of the steak, cut that out as well. Discard the membrane.
- Determine which way the grain of the steak is running – it should be running perpendicular to the length of the hanger steak.
- First, cut the steak with the grain into short sections, about 3 sections for the entire steak.
- Next, rotate the steak so that you are cutting across the grain and slice it into thin strips for serving.
This method will give you easy-to-chew, tender pieces of steak for your hanger steak tacos!
What do you put on your hanger steak tacos?
A spread of everything you need for delicious hanger steak tacos!
Since hanger steaks have such rich flavor, I like to focus on simple toppings that accent the beef flavor of the steak. My hanger steak tacos have these topping:
- Chopped white onion – a bit of bite and crunch is nice with the tender, juicy beef.
- Chopped cilantro – to bring freshness and balance.
- Squeeze of lime juice – a touch of fresh acidity just livens up the entire dish!
Of course you can top your hanger steak tacos with whatever makes you happy, that’s the great thing about tacos you can make them whatever you want!
Do you have more taco recipes?
Heck yeah we do! Just follow this link to see more taco recipes on our website. We have everything from modern chicken avocado street tacos to traditional cochinita pibil taco recipes for you to try out!
I hope this description gave you the confidence to grab a hanger steak from your butcher (like LGCM) and make your own batch of hanger steak tacos. They’re delicious and a little off the beaten path, so get adventurous, and get cooking!
- 2 lb Hanger Steak (approximately)
- Urban Accents Mesa Rosa Chipotle Seasoning (or your favorite seasoning as discussed above)
- 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 White Onion (chopped, for serving)
- 1 bunch Cilantro (chopped, for serving)
- Lime Wedges (for serving)
- 12 Tortillas (warmed, for serving)
Season your hanger steak to taste with the Urban Accents Mesa Rosa Chipotle Seasoning or your favorite taco seasoning. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
Alternatively, place your hanger steak in a sealable plastic bag, add your favorite marinade, seal the bag, and let sit in the refrigerator for 1 – 24 hours.
Add the oil to a medium-large cast iron skillet and heat to medium high heat. Add the hanger steak, and cook for 5 – 6 minutes per side, flipping only once, until the steak reaches 125 – 130º internal temperature.
Once the hanger steak is done cooking, remove it from the heat, and wrap it tightly in heavy duty aluminum foil. If you’re not using heavy duty foil, use two layers of foil to keep the heat in. Let the steak rest for 15 – 20 minutes in foil.
Remove the hanger steak from the foil, being careful to save the juices that have accumulated in the foil. Slice the hanger steak for tacos as described above and pour the juices over the top for flavor.
Assemble your hanger steak tacos by putting a few slices of hanger steak on a warmed tortilla, then topping white a helping of chopped white onion, chopped cilantro, and squeeze of fresh lime juice. Enjoy!