Are you one of the rare steak lovers who can tell the difference between hanger and skirt steak? People often mistake these two delicious cuts of beef for each other, but the location of each cut from the cow is the secret to their distinctive flavors. Hanger vs. skirt steak – in this article, we will explore many factors about these two steaks to help you fully appreciate both steaks.
Throughout this article, you will learn the unique characteristics of hanger and skirt steak and whether these two cuts are healthy. So, whether you know a lot about steak or are just beginning to learn, read on to discover the secrets to these mouthwatering cuts.
Hanger vs. Skirt Steak: What Are the Differences?
Hanger steak and skirt steak are both juicy cuts of beef, but they differ in size, texture, and cooking methods. Hanger steak, also known as butcher's steak or bistro cut, is a thicker and shorter cut, measuring around 6-7 inches long. It is prized for its tenderness and rich flavor, making it perfect for grilling or pan-searing. On the other hand, skirt steak is a longer, thinner cut that can reach up to 2 feet in length and 3-4 inches across when trimmed. It has a more robust, beefy flavor and a slightly tougher texture, making it ideal for marinating and quick cooking methods like stir-frying or grilling. Let's analyze seven important differences between these two succulent steaks in more detail.
- Size: Hanger steaks are thicker but shorter than skirt steaks, and you can only get one flank steak per cow. Skirt steaks are thinner but longer, and you can get two per cow.
- Cut location: Both cuts are from the diaphragm area of the cow but from different muscles. Hanger steaks get cut from the muscle (plate) that suspends the diaphragm, and skirt steak gets cut from the muscle (beef plate) in the cow's lower belly, which is a cut that includes the transversus abdominis muscle.
- Cooking levels: Hanger steak is best if you serve them as medium-rare or medium, while skirt steak is best as medium-rare to medium-well.
- Tenderness: Hanger steak is typically more tender than skirt steak because of where the cut location is on the cow. Skirt steak is less tender and will need more attention during the cooking process.
- Marbling: Hanger steaks typically have more marbling than skirt steaks because butchers cut them from a less exercised part of the cow, resulting in less marbling.
- Cooking temperature: Flank steak requires a lower cooking temperature than flank steak. Hanger steak has an ideal temperature range between 325 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While skirt steak has a slightly higher cooking temperature of 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Hanger Steak vs Skirt Steak Nutrition Comparison: Calories, Fat, and Protein in Each
Both hanger steak and skirt steak are nutritionally very similar. Both cuts of steak have similar calories per ounce and a similar ratio of protein relative to fat. Both steaks have zero carbohydrates and are rich sources of Vitamin B12. Note that the calories in our comparison are for a four-ounce serving. Most restaurants will have a serving size of at least 8 ounces and often 12 ounces or more.
Hanger vs. Skirt Steak: What Are the Similarities?
Although hanger and skirt steak have their differences, the two have many similarities. The obvious similarity is that they both come from a cow. However, below are four similarities that are not so obvious!
- People like hanger and skirt steak because of their rich flavor.
- You can marinate both to enhance their flavors and tenderize the meat.
- Hanger and skirt steaks are versatile, so you can use them in many recipes.
- You can cook both steaks in similar ways, such as grilled, pan-seared, or broiled.
Hanger vs. Skirt Steak: Are They Healthy Choices?
Both hanger steak and skirt steak can be healthy options for a balanced diet. They are both excellent sources of protein and iron, which are great nutrients that can benefit your health. However, hanger and skirt steaks might contain healthy nutrients, but both cuts also contain a high amount of saturated fat and cholesterol. Keep in mind that cholesterol and saturated fat are unhealthy if you consume too much.
To maximize the healthiness of these steaks, you should choose lean cuts and trim any visible fat from the meat before cooking. By pairing hanger and skirt steaks with sides low in saturated fat and cholesterol, you can include these steaks in a balanced diet. It is important that you only consume these steaks in moderation.
What Is Hanger Steak?
Hanger steak comes from the “plate” of the cow, a cut that is part of the cow's diaphragm. People name this cut of beef hanger steak because it's a muscle that literally hangs down from the diaphragm of the cow, extending to the flank. However, some people also refer to this steak as the “hanging tenderloin.”
Before hanger steaks got popular, customers didn't understand how to request the specific cut of delicious beef. Butchers would take the steak home and cook it for themselves, which is where hanger steak got the nickname “butcher's steak.” Butchers would also say that it was one of the best cuts from a cow because of its rich flavor.
Cooking Hanger Steak
The best way to cook hanger steak is by using high-heat methods, such as pan-searing, grilling, or broiling, but the most popular way to cook the steak is by grilling it. The grill will quickly cook hanger steak to char the steak instead of cooking through it and drying it out.
The best way to serve them is medium-rare. If you cook it longer, then you risk making the meat tough. It is important to be cautious cooking hanger steak because if you slightly overcook them, it could cause the steak to lose its tenderness. However, if you undercook this type of steak, it could cause the steak to be slimy.
Hanger steak is a cut of beef that has great flavor, which you can use in a variety of dishes, such as fajitas, stir-fry, tacos, and more. Its tender texture and robust flavor make it a great addition to any meal!
Best Sides to Pair with Hanger Steak
Hanger steak is versatile and can go great with almost any side dish. However, it's all about personal preference. Here are a few sides that will impress your taste buds during your next hanger steak meal.
What Is Skirt Steak?
Skirt steak is a cut of beef many meat enthusiasts enjoy because of its rich, beefy flavor and versatility in various dishes. This lean cut comes from the cow’s diaphragm, and it is usually tough because it comes from a muscle that supports the cattle’s body. However, marinating the steak for a few hours or overnight with an acidic mixture like vinegar can break down the muscle fibers, resulting in a more flavorful and tender cut.
There are two sections of a skirt steak, the inside, and the outside skirt. You can commonly find the outside skirt in stores, and the inside skirt will be harder to find, usually ordered or found in some butcher shops.
Cooking Skirt Steak
Skirt steak is a robust piece of meat that requires high-heat cooking methods, such as broiling, pan-searing, or grilling. High-heat methods are best because of the toughness of the meat. The most popular option is grilling the meat so it can quickly cook while maintaining its tenderness. Grilling will also add a nice flavor to the meat.
A medium-rare finish is best to ensure the steak will keep its juiciness and tenderness, overcooking the steak will leave it tough and dry. Once you cook the steak, allow it to stand for a few minutes before slicing it. Allowing it to rest lets the juices settle and enhance the flavor and texture of the meat.
Skirt steak is popular for various dishes, such as tacos, salads, stir-fry, or even sandwiches.
Best Sides to Pair with Skirt Steak
There are many delicious side dishes to pair with skirt steak. However, here are some dishes that would elevate your skirt steak meal!
Hanger and skirt steak are flavorful cuts of beef with differences and similarities. Hanger steak is thicker and more tender, while skirt steak is longer and leaner. You can use both cuts in many dishes, and eating these steaks in moderation is a great addition to a balanced diet.
Hanger and skirt steaks are excellent cuts of beef with unique characteristics. By knowing which sides to choose and how to prepare them, you can appreciate each cut to its fullest. Whichever steak you choose, it will be an excellent addition to any dinner.