Hanger steak tacos, anyone? I walked into my local butcher shop to buy some flat steak for tacos, fully expecting to walk out with some flank or skirt steak. Nonetheless, I asked the guy behind the counter what he would recommend for tacos, (protip- this is always a good idea at specialty shops) and he didn’t hesitate to say hanger steak. So, hanger steak tacos, here we come!
Hanger-y for Hanger Steak
As a food-obsessed individual, hanger (as in angry hunger) is something I’m very familiar with. But hanger steaks are a different story. Prior to these tacos, I’ve only cooked with flank or skirt steaks.
I did my due diligence as a home cook and read up on this cut prior to getting started. Hanger steak isn’t that much different from flank or skirt, but it is more tender and is often less expensive. As such, it has steadily become more popular over the years among restaurants and home cooks alike. Perfect for carne asada or fajitas, or served with chimichurri sauce or balsamic glaze, you can feel confident about swapping skirt and flank steak with hanger steak for just about anything. With a little prep work and a roaring hot grill, you can be taco ready in no time.
Marinading the Meat
For this particular hanger steak, my blogging buddy Brad Prose over at Chiles and Smoke recommended a simple marinade of olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, soy sauce, and minced garlic.
You can definitely get as fancy as you want with marinades, using apple cider vinegar, honey, chiles, citrus, or tons of seasonings. But it’s not necessary. This cut of beef and all its taco toppings have plenty of flavors to go around.
Whatever you decide, just be sure to get your three marinade components: acid, fat, aromatics. These ingredient superpowers will tenderize and flavorize the meat in the most wonderful way. In this marinade, the lime and soy do the job of acid, the oil plays the role of fat, and each component adds a distinct flavor.
A short marinading time of thirty minutes prior to cooking will do, as this is a very thin steak which is already incredibly tender. As for the salt, Mr. Prose recommends skipping it for the marinade and adding it directly to the steaks immediately before they go on the grill. No need to overdo it here either, as the soy sauce in the marinade is plenty salty.
Simple as that! This is one low maintenance cut of meat!
Thanks for the tips Chiles and Smoke! If you’re a fan of smoked and spicy things, definitely go give him a follow- you won’t be disappointed!
They shouldn’t be overlooked. Toppings can make or break a taco.
You’ll probably find that cheddar cheese and shredded lettuce don’t do this taco any favors! So, we’re going to skip the Americanized version of taco toppings and go a little more authentic.
Pico de gallo is always welcome, as are its individual components. Salsas of any type or heat, a spritz of lime juice, fresh avocado or guacamole, a little shredded cabbage for crunch…any or all of these will make your tacos sing.
If you’re feeling a little cheesy, try a crumbled up cotija or queso fresco cheese sprinkled on top. You may have to sleuth the cheese section at the store for these- but they are totally worth the time to find them!
Let’s Talk Tortillas
Lastly, we would be remiss if we didn’t discuss what’s under the taco either.
If you can’t swing a fresh homemade tortilla, try finding a local vendor. I’m lucky to have Benny Blanco Tortillas here locally, and let me tell you- they are far, far superior to the under-flavored, over-processed tortillas I’d find at the grocery store.
Just remember that the freshest tortillas are also the most susceptible to going bad. Be sure to refrigerate your fresh tortillas until you’re ready to cook, otherwise, you’ll end up tossing a moldy batch. Or you can also a tortilla freak like me and buy several packs. After all, nothing should get between you and these hanger steak tacos.
Also- big thanks to Arcadia Meat Market for the amazing cuts! I’ll definitely be back for more!
Hanger Steak Tacos
These carne asada style hanger steak tacos will cure even the hangriest. Quick to cook and boldly flavorful, you'll be taco ready in no time!
- 1 pound hanger steak
- 1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
For the marinade
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 lime juiced and zested
- 4 garlic cloves smashed or minced
For the tacos
- 6 flour tortillas
- 1 cup green cabbage shredded
- 1 cup purple cabbage shredded
- 1/2 cup cotija or queso fresco crumbled
- 1 cup pico de gallo
Preheat the grill.
In a ziplock bag or large bowl, add all marinade ingredients together and stir to combine.
Pat dry the hanger steak add the steak to the marinade mix. Cover and let sit for thirty minutes at room temperature.
When the steaks have finished marinating, pat them dry, sprinkle with coarse sea salt, and place them over direct heat on the grill. Cook each side about 4 to 5 minutes or until meat is medium rare and internal temperature has reached 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
After removing the steak from the grill, cover and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes to preserve its juices.
Meanwhile, heat up a medium sized cast iron pan on the grill or stove. Heat up the tortillas, about 1 minute on each side.
With a sharp steak knife, cut the steak against the grain into small, 1-inch slices.
Assemble the tacos with a bed of fresh cabbage, sliced steak, pico de gallo, and crumbled cheese.