Skip to content

Main Navigation

What is a Hanger Steak? - Butcher's Best-Kept Secret

Mehgan Zheng
grilled hanger steak on a round wooden cutting board to show what is a hanger steak

Did you know that traditionally, butchers had a specific steak that they kept for themselves? That is how butcher's steak got its original name. But what is a hanger steak?

It turns out, the hanger steak and butcher's steak are one and the same! A flavorful and unique cut, this steak has a fascinating history. While traditionally, it was only meant for butchers, you can now buy it from your favorite steak house.

So should you buy a hanger steak? What is special about it? Whether you are a steak lover or just curious, read on to learn everything you need about the hanger steak. 

What is a Hanger Steak?

Also known as a butcher's steak, the hanger steak comes from the diaphragm muscle of the animal. This cut was often considered a butcher's secret. However, a new trend has made the steak widely available.

People refer to this cut as the "hanger steak" because it 'hangs' between the beef rib and loin. You may have also heard the term, "butcher's steak," which comes from the fact that butchers traditionally kept this cut for themselves.

Although this steak is tasty, its popularity lagged behind because of its shape. Due to its irregular shape, this steak is sometimes referred to as the sloppy steak. It could not compete with other so-called flat steaks, such as the flank. However, consumers are now more open to alternative and less costly cuts.


raw hanger steak

Another reason explaining its unpopularity is that every animal has only a small hanger steak. As such, only a few people ever get it. Compared to other popular cuts, it lacks a uniform shape making it almost impossible to cook evenly.

But do not let the shape fool you. The butcher's steak is secretly a tender and tasty piece, which is why butchers often choose it for themselves. For someone with access to the entire animal, it was best to save an excellent portion that is isn't as lucrative as a ribeye or filet.

The butcher's steak has a rich beefy flavor and a chewy texture. It is a fairly lean cut and is quite tender, especially when cooked correctly. If we are to compare the hanger steak against other steaks, it takes the title for a more intense flavor. The uneven shape may require special attention when cooking. However, the result will make you wish for more.

Cooking and Serving a Hanger Steak

There are many ways to prepare this steak. The two most popular methods are grilling and searing. Related: see our buying guide for the best cutting board for meat.


If grilling is your preferred way, the steps are straightforward. First, preheat the grill to high heat and lightly oil the grates to avoid sticking. Next, season the steak with your preferred mixture. For the hanger steak, we recommend this Smoked Prime Cut Seasoning by Gustus Vitae to bring out the best in the beef. Then, grill it for approximately five minutes on each side.


If you prefer to sear your steak, first heat a cast iron or stainless steel griddle with a tablespoon of oil. Season the steak and add it to the skillet. Cook each side for about four minutes.

Some popular side dishes that pair well with the butcher's cut include roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or a crisp salad. As for beverages, a full-bodied red wine or a cold beer are both great choices to complement the rich flavors of the steak.

cooked hanger steak sliced with tomatoes and grilled corn on the side

The Sloppy Steak Trend

Some people refer to the hanger steak as sloppy steak. As a result, people may confuse this steak with the sloppy steak trend.

The term sloppy steak in this context was first coined by Tim Robinson in his show "I Think You Should Leave." In the scene, Tim Robinson explains that he used to be "a piece of shit," and when asked to clarify, he says, "Slicked-back hair, white bathing suit, sloppy steaks, white couch."

He then clarifies that sloppy steak is a steak with water dumped all over it. While you may think he was just trying to be funny, he explains how they used to slop their steak.

This scene gave birth to the sloppy steak trend where people cook steak as usual but dump water all over it after it is served.


Also known as the butcher's steak, the hanger steak is a delicious cut from the diaphragm muscle of the cow. This steak got its name from the location from which it is cut; it hangs between the flank and short plate of the cow. However, even with the odd name, this steak has a rich beefy flavor.

The hanger steak is versatile, and it's hard to go wrong while preparing it. You can grill, sear, or even slow-cook it to perfection. Comparing it with other steaks, this cut is generally less expensive.

If you want to learn more about more kinds of steak and become a true beef expert, take a look at our definitive guide to beef cuts.

cow cuts chart

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a slow cooker for cooking the hanger steak?

Yes, you can use a slow cooker to prepare this steak. Place your cut into your cooker and your desired seasonings to achieve this. Let it cook for 6 to 8 hours. Once you have it cooked, shred it with a fork and add your desired sauce.

How do I prevent my hanger steak from being too greasy?

A hanger steak can be too greasy if not well prepared. To prevent this, start by selecting a lean cut. Slice out any excess fat. Also, once cooked, you can use a spoon to trim the accumulated fat.

Can I use different types of cheese for the hanger steak?

The hanger steak is a versatile cut. You can apply different types of cheese depending on your preference. Popular choices include cheddar, mozzarella, and pepper jack. You can also recommend other types of cheese, as you will hardly go wrong.


View our entire collection of Salts, Seasonings, and Rubs by Gustus Vitae - there are so many ways to elevate the flavor of your best beef cut. Find the perfect seasoning for your next steak, bbq, stew, or smoked meat!

top view of different seasonings by gustus vitae arranged on a wood cutting board

See Virginia Boys Kitchens On Amazon

We are on Amazon, see our storefront here. Use coupon code VBKBLOG10 for 10% off your entire purchase of any Virginia Boys Kitchens on Amazon. Apply the code at checkout.