Hanger Steak Sous-Vide

Hanger Steak is a lesser known but very flavorful cut of beef. It has so much flavor because it comes from the diaphragm that is needed for breathing, and has therefore had a lot of use in the life of the steer or cow. Hanger steak is called onglet in French, and longhaas or karweivlees in Dutch. It is best when served medium rare, but it can be slightly tough when prepared like a regular steak. With sous-vide we can fix this, because we can cook it for a longer time without taking it over medium rare or we can apply the technique that I have called warm aging.

It is possible to tenderize beef by boosting the activity of calpain and cathepsin enzymes in the meat through bringing the meat to temperatures of 39.5C/103F for calpains and 49.5C/121F for cathepsins. These are the same enzymes that are at work when meat is aged at refrigerator temperatures (both for dry aging and for aging in vacuum), but much faster and (compared to dry aging) without drying the meat. If you can find dry aged hanger steak there is no need to apply warm aging, but I don’t expect this to be a cut that is available dry aged. I finished cooking the steak at 55C/131F for medium rare. You could also cook it longer at 55C/131F instead of applying warm aging, but the meat would turn out less juicy and a bit more like medium.

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This was the first time that I tried hanger steak sous-vide, and I was happy with the result. The meat was different from other beef: it had a ‘loose’ texture, lots of flavor and a very red color. It’s not as tender and juicy as for example a rib eye steak, but certainly tender and juicy enough.

Ingredients

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hanger steak

salt and freshly ground black pepper

clarified butter

red wine (optional)

Preparation

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Season the steak with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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Brown the steak quickly over high heat. (I added the pre-browning as an additional step before warm aging to make sure any pathogens on the surface have been killed before the meat is kept for a few hours at temperatures that would allow pathogens to grow quickly.)

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Allow the steak to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate it for a few hours until thoroughly chilled. If you try to vacuum seal the steak while it’s still warm, you will suck out too many juices and it won’t seal.

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Vacuum seal the steak and cook it sous-vide for 1 hour at 39.5C/103F.

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Increase the temperature to 49.5C/121F and cook for another hour.

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Increase the temperature to 55C/131F and cook for 3 more hours. This is long enough to pasteurize the beef.

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Remove the steak from the water bath.

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Collect the juices from the bag in saucepan and heat them until the scum rises to the surface. Turn off the heat.

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Pat the steak dry with kitchen paper.

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Brown the steak again in clarified butter over high heat.

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Deglaze the pan with some red wine if you like. Scrape any bits off the bottom with a wooden spatula.

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Add the juices from the bag, filtered through a cheese cloth or kitchen paper to remove the scum. Cook for a bit over medium heat to make a quick sauce.

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Slice the beef across the grain and serve it with the sauce on warm plates.

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42 thoughts on “Hanger Steak Sous-Vide

    • Certainly. I’ve tried it with good results with prime rib, sirloin, hamburger, leg of lamb. I think it makes most sense for cuts that won’t be cooked sv for days.

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  1. It’s only been about a year that I’ve seen hanger steaks here, Stefan. I do enjoy it but find that it’s a rather large cut for one person. As a result, I don’t have it as often as I like. I bet finishing your steak off in clarified butter not only adds flavor to the steak but adds plenty to the reduced wine sauce, too. Yum! 🙂

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    • well, generally, you cut the steak in two because there is a membrane, so you end up with two long and skinny steaks. solution is easy- put them in separate bags. cook them both, rapid chill the one you don’t eat. store it in the fridge for a week, or the freezer for up to a month. the one you do eat, you can do half, refrigerate the rest, and have steak and SV eggs (or my favorite, steak and SV egg sandwich) for breakfast. money!!!

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  2. Recept gevolgd met als gevolg heerlijk vlezig vlees met diepe smaak. Vonden longhaas moeilijk goed te bereiden. Nu niet meer. Dank!
    Stefan heb je ook ervaring/recepten voor en mening over de Thermomix?

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    • Hans, wat leuk dat je mijn recept hebt gebruikt en het zo geslaagd was. Dank voor het achterlaten van een berichtje!
      Ik ken de Thermomix alleen van dat ik hem een paar keer bij iemand anders heb gezien. Het is een handig apparaat, maar best duur. Op het apparaat dat ik heb gezien kon de temperatuur net niet nauwkeurig genoeg ingesteld worden. Creme brulee uit de Thermomix was erg makkelijk en lekker.

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  3. Lovel the post, Stefan. Don’t know how I missed it previously. 😮 I’m curious how the ancho chile rub wold work with this. Finish with a sauce made with the juice, a little of red wine and touch of dark chocolate. I may need to try this soon as we’re finally nearing the century mark and the kitchen gets too hot for sous vide.

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  4. Steak sous vide in what, 5-6 hours? Nah, life is too short. Peruse what the sadly late Judy Rogers did with it at Zuni. I’d be interested in hearing what anyone who compares the two methods has to say. NB that while the grade of hanger one uses is a substantial contributor to its tenderness, it is inherently a chewy cut. While somewhat less expensive than many other cuts, hanger steak is the most flavorful I have found.

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  5. Hey Stefan,

    Quick question for you. I’ve been cooking hanger steak sous vide for a while and love the results. I’ve been looking at josper ovens (or big green eggs) and wonder if it is worth combining the two. Have you tried this and do you get a good result, or is it not worth using a sous vide oven if you have a josper?

    If you have any thoughts on the subject it would be good to hear them!

    Dan

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    • Hi Dan,

      I do not own a big green egg or josper oven, and I’ve decided for the moment not to buy one because I think they are very expensive and I already have most of the advantages they offer with my sous-vide cooker and my barrel grill/smoker.

      As far as I know, a big green egg/josper oven offers three advantages:
      – efficient use of charcoal
      – imparts a smoky/charcoal flavor to the food
      – low and slow cooking
      There may be other advantages that I am not aware of.

      Low and slow cooking can be handled more easily sous-vide. To get the smoky/charcoal flavor, I have successfully combined a cheap stovetop smoker with sous-vide. See for example this post:
      https://stefangourmet.com/2012/12/23/smoked-brisket-sous-vide/

      I think you could get a similar result by combining sous-vide and a big green egg, by first smoking in the big green egg and then finishing the cooking low and slow sous-vide. You could also do this without the sous-vide, i.e. all in the big green egg, but that would have the disadvantage that you would have to tend the fire and would not have the perfect temperature control that sous-vide offers.

      Hope this helps!
      Stefan

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  6. I live in Houston and have been looking for Hanger steak for four or five years having read multiple articles touting it for flavor. None of the local markets carry it. I couldn’t even find a butcher who knows what it is. I have found it online at high prices ~$20/lb plus expensive overnight shipping.

    That’s the bad news. Now for the good news.

    One of the online vendors made note that the same cut is sometimes called a ‘Hanging Tender.’ So I googled for Hanging Tender in Houston and found that it is carried by Amigo Meats, a wholesale firm that supplies restaurants. Called them and learned that they will sell to the public. Price was $3.69 per pound. Drove over there and asked for the Hanging Tender. The clerk informed me, “You must buy a 40 or 50 pound box.” Gulp. I swallowed hard and bought a 40 pound box. They came frozen in four 10 pound vacuum bags with each bag holding four complete hanger steaks with the membrane (unseparated).

    Fortunately we have two freezers and like to buy bargain meats in quantity. Not everyone is set up to do that. Now I had the problem of how to separate them and repackage. I took one of the ten pound bags of frozen meat and put it into the refrigerator to partially thaw overnight. After about 18 to 20 hours, they had thawed just barely enough for me to pry them apart. I was then able to split them into two two steaks by cutting along the membrane line with a sharp knife. I then trimmed each partially frozen steak and immediately refroze on a cookie sheet. After the steak was well frozen, I vacuum packed each steak. By refreezing before vacuuming, you prevent loss of juices during sealing. It make for a neater job and a better seal too.

    Doing one of the ten pound bags each night enabled me to finish the job in four days. I got a lot better at separating the steaks along the membrane with practice. It was also practice that taught me to completely refreeze before vacuuming.

    So now I have at least a two year supply of Hanger steaks, an item that I couldn’t even find before. All at a wholesale price too.

    This evening we plan to baptize our haul by trying the Sous Vide procedure outlined in this blog. I’ll put up another post tomorrow and let you know how that goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Dave,
      Cuts of beef have different names everywhere, which can make it quite confusing. Glad you found hanger steak in the end, and at a really great price!
      Would love to hear how it turns out when you cook it sous-vide according to my procedure. It depends on the exact type of beef (e.g. grass-fed or corn-fed, age, etc.) and your personal preference how you will like it. You certainly have enough to experiment with 😉 If you think the beef is still too tough following my procedure, try cooking it longer at 131 degrees. If that doesn’t help (24 hours should be enough for hanger steak, although I cook short ribs and brisket for 48 hours), increase the temperature to 133 or even 135 degrees. You could also increase the temperature if you think it is too much medium rare, 140 degrees would be medium.
      Restaurants often barely cook it and then slice it very thinly across the grain so you won’t notice as much it’s still a bit tough — you may like that too.
      I sure hope you’ll end up liking hanger steak 😉
      Good luck and let me know what happens next!
      Stefan

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  7. OK Stephen. Made this per your recipe this evening including the wine sauce. The only difference is that I cut the time at 131F to 2 hours instead of 3 hours. The steak was perfectly tender.

    The typical hanger steak weighs about one pound. That makes a fair serving for two or perhaps three people. We had three adults and it worked out OK.

    The Hanger Steak is a winner. It is already tender but the Sous Vide treatment makes it even more tender. It has a whole lot more beefy flavor than more expensive steaks like a rib eye or a tenderloin. This is a steak with large pores that will readily absorb a marinade, much like skirt steak. Unlike skirt stake, it is very tender.

    Tonight we served it as a conventional steak with wine sauce, baked potatoes, and fresh asparagus barely cooked and still bright green and semi crisp. What a great meal!

    This Hanger Steak will also work well in Fajitas, Quesadillas, Beef Stroganoff, etc. It is really tender and really flavorful. I’m delighted to have a freezer full of these great steaks.

    Too bad this cut isn’t more available in our markets. I really had to search for it.

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  8. Thanks Dave…..i have also been in search of hanger steaks in Houston for years….i’m going to amigo tomorrow to try this recipe!

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  9. Really scary stuff… I mean you really give a chance for multiplication for any pathogen present. It will not happen maybe for 98% of people that try this, but even 2% could have serious problems doing this. Pasteurization doesn’t get rid of toxins unfortunately, it just kills the bacteria that produced them.

    How do you feel about this ? It is a major issue for me.

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    • Hi Ben,
      I have studied food safety at length and unfortunately it is not a matter of simple rules or neither is it possible to completely rule out any risk.
      You are correct that pasteurization doesn’t get rid of toxins. However, your statistics are completely off. It is much safer to eat a steak prepared as in my recipe than to participate in traffic. 2% indicates a chance of 1 in 50. In fact, the chance of getting food poisoning from a steak prepared like this (and I mean a steak from intact muscle meat beef from a reputable butcher, not ground meat or chicken) is closer to 1 in 50 million! Whereas traffic incidents occur 1 in 6500 (in the US). So yes there is a risk, but it is a million times smaller than you state.

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      • Hi Mimi, my hanger steak was tender enough but still slightly on the tough side after 3 hours for the last step. I think it would have been too tough after only 2 hours at 131F. However, your hanger steak (and that of Dave) may be more tender than mine was to begin with, so 2 hours may in fact suffice. As 3 hours is also better to make sure it is pasteurized, I would try that first. If you find it too tender, you could always cut back to 2 hours next time you get hanger steak from the same source.

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      • No, I’m not, because I’m making it for company. I’ve learned that isn’t a very smart thing to do, unless you can fake it with the leftovers!!! But I’ll tell you about it.

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        • That’s brave anyway, to make something for the first time for company. For me this depends on how well I know the company. In a less formal setting, I do make something for the first time for company, and then I blog about it anyway. I usually don’t have a hard time finding guinea pigs 😉 and I’ve gotten pretty fast at taking plated shots. Those aren’t my best plated shots, as I do feel the need to limit myself to 2 or 3 shots and use the best one for the post.

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          • I totally understand what you mean, but these are 3 girlfriends, and when I have company, it’s more about the hors d’oeuvres and wine. So the meal is simple – sliced hanger steak served over sauteed spinach with olives, feta cheese, and pine nuts. I found it in a French cookbook called Rotis. Doesn’t sound very tricky. But I don’t make fancy dinners like you do – I really like to enjoy my company and not stress about timing. So I tend to make as much in advance as possible. I would love to attend one of your dinners!

            Liked by 1 person

            • I try to think of menus that allow me to make as much as possible in advance, but it is true that some stress about timing does take away some of my attention from simply enjoying myself. But what can I say, I enjoy the challenge. You know you have a standing invitation for dinner, just let me know when I can expect you 🙂
              How did the hanger steak turn out?

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  10. hi, i started my sous vide production workshop in Taiwan. Recently my clients gave me some tough challenges. They loved our sous vide steaks but they can’t afford to use our regular items(ribeye cap, strip loin,tenderloins) for their restaurant. Thus I have to find cheaper cuts and gotta do several trial and error on it.

    so far i tried knuckle(which taste like hard jerky with juice), chuck flap 55c for 2hr(which r ok but still quite some chew), and i am most satisfied the results with top blade 55c for 1.5hr. However,its quite tedious with that thick sinew in the middle and my crew has trouble with the low yields and very time consuming. i also tried leave the sinew on and cook it till the sinew has soften but the meat becomes more of a braise texture. sigh~ so my next attempt is chuck eye roll and hopefully it works. However it would be great if anybody has any good suggestion

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    • Hi Jerry, I think the chuck flap at 55C simply needs more time. Could be 12 hours or even more, up to 72. Same with the blade steak. If you cook it for long enough at 55C it should become tender before it becomes too much of a braise texture. However, some braise like texture is unavoidable for tough meat to become tender.

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  11. Hi Stefan, immensely enjoy your blogs and advise. was checking the “hanger” and it took me a while to understand it was “onglet” or “longhaas”. So now you know I’m Dutch too. Two questions: why are you sv-ing at different temps? Starting at 39, then increasing to 49 (?) and then to 55 ( medium rare, isn’t it?).
    2nd q: is there some list of translations to go from all these US/UK beef parts to civilized Dutch?

    Grtz, Ton Teuns

    Liked by 1 person

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