What is the Best Substitute for Hanger Steak?

by Charlie
Grilled hanger steak

One of the many benefits of cooking is that you get to experiment with different things once in a while. With so many steak variances, you could want to try different options. 

Hanger steak is one of the most famous steak options. With its juicy and tender texture, this steak is a regular in many kitchens. However, you could want to try something different from time to time. 

So, what is the best substitute for hanger steak? The best substitute for hanger steak is shoulder steak – another steak option with a juicy and tender texture. You can also use shoulder steak in a wide array of recipes and cooking options, so its versatility definitely works for it. 

An Overview of Hanger Steak 

Hanger steak is a steak variant that is gotten from the cow’s rib and tenderloin sections. It is a very tender piece of meat, and it is a regular option in steakhouse menus almost everywhere. 

While it is a bit of an expensive steak option, hanger steak is impressive nonetheless. It has full-fat beef content, and it can work in different scenarios. 

While most people will prefer to marinate their hanger steak, this isn’t overly necessary. The steak itself is tender already, so you don’t need much work to get that outcome. With a little bit of seasoning and oiling, hanger steak will definitely be ready for cooking. 

Why Replace Hanger Steak? 

  • Fat content: Hanger steak has a bit of a high-fat content, and this might not sit well with people looking to watch their weight. Thankfully, there are much leaner options to choose from. 
  • Price: Hanger steak is relatively more expensive than many other steak options. So, you might want to get something more budget-friendly. 
  • Taste differences: If you’re looking to experiment with something different. There’s no reason not to get a hanger steak substitute. 

Options for Hanger Steak Substitutes

Best Overall Substitute for Hanger Steak: Shoulder Steak

Shoulder steak is an interesting steak option for many reasons. While it is tasty and juicy – and even comes at a bargain price, it often gets overlooked for other steak variants. Nevertheless, no amount of overlooking will distract from the fact that shoulder steak is an absolute delight to have. 

When it comes to serving as a substitute for hanger steak, shoulder steak is the best bet. It provides a lot of similarities to hanger steak, ensuring that you get the same lovely taste and texture. Like hanger steak, shoulder steak is juicy, rich in fat, and delicate. 

The steak option is actually gotten from the large primal area in the shoulder area of the cow. So, you see how and why it gets so juicy! Thanks to its rich and beefy flavor, shoulder steak works wonders for different recipe options. Shoulder steak has a bit of a coarse and tender texture, although it doesn’t quite have that “melts in your mouth” feeling that you get from something like a fillet. 

You also get a bit of a gristle edge with shoulder steak, but this adds to its flavor. So, don’t worry about it. In terms of application, shoulder steak especially shines when used in slow-cook recipes with stir-fries and diced beef. With a little experience, you will also be able to pan-fry and barbecue your shoulder steak. 

Best Substitute for Marinating: Skirt Steak

Skirt steak is another excellent steak option that should be given a lot of credit as well. It is a tasty beef cut that comes with a tender feeling that all steak lovers will appreciate. It is especially similar to hanger steak because it comes with the same beefy flavor and rich grain. 

This steak option is gotten from the cow’s diaphragm muscle. It is a fibrous cut that separates the abdomen from the chest. 

With skirt steak, you get two parts – there is the outside skirt, which has a finer grain and is more tender in texture. Then, you have the inside skirt, which is tougher and coarser. Depending on what you like, you can make a decision when at the market. 

The grain of skirt steak usually runs across the meat’s width, so you want to watch that if you’re carving it. Remember when carving that you always have to cut across the grain to optimize the meat’s tenderness. 

When it comes to use, skirt steak is also quite similar to hanger steak. You can give it a quick searing in a hot pan or barbecue it for a little while over some hot coals. Skirt steak works well with marinades and spices, so you shouldn’t be scared to use those to improve its taste to your preference as well. 

Most people use skirt steak to make lovely fajitas. It has an intense flavor that can cope with spicing and marinating, and it can accommodate high heat since its cut doesn’t have any fat or connective tissue. 

Best Non-Fatty Substitute: Flank Steak 

Flank steak is a piece of meat obtained from the lower chest area and abdominal muscles of the cow. It is a famous option among many butchers and meat lovers. 

This steak option is relatively easy to work with. It is simple and delicious when cooked, but it can be pretty dry and tough if your cooking isn’t perfect. So, you might need a bit of cooking expertise to get this steak option right. 

Flank steak is very lean – unlike skirt steak. So, if you’re worried about fat content, this is an excellent option for you. However, while it doesn’t need much trimming, you will need some work to make it tender and easy to eat. Like skirt steak, however, flank steak takes very well to marinades.

Interestingly, flank steak comes under many names – French butchers call it “bavette,” while Brazilians call it “Saldanha.” Some butchers might also call it “London Broil.” So, you want to make sure that you have the right name and you’re clear with your butcher about what you want. 

When working with flank steak, you want to make sure to cut it very thin. The meat does much of the work for you, thanks to its long muscle lines that stretch down the cut. All you have to do is cut perpendicular to them, and you’re good to go.

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