Spice Rubbed Hanger Steak
Ten years ago, riding my motorcycle across Mexico, I fell in love with arrachera, hanger steak. There it’s marinated, grilled, and served with lime. Until recently hanger steak was the cow’s best-kept secret; an inexpensive, relatively tender, flavorful cut that could be roasted or grilled like any other steak, but at a fraction of the cost. Then damn chefs like me started putting it on their menus and butchers got wise.
The cut is called hanger steak because it sort of hangs down off the steer’s diaphragm, near the
kidneys. I’m a huge fan of this cut, but it can be chewy, so I suggest lightly pounding it to tenderize it before grilling. Or you can marinate it overnight in herbs, onions, garlic, and olive oil. The pomegranate seeds here give a punchy acidity that reminds me of the fresh lime of the Mexican arrachera.
- 1 tablespoon dried pomegranate seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 2 pounds hanger steak, trimmed of excess fat and silverskin
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
- 1/4 cup fruity olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 cup Cerignola olives, pitted and coarsely chopped, or other meaty, fresh, green olives
- Grated fresh horseradish
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Pre-heat the grill to high or light a medium fire in a charcoal grill. Combine the pomegranate seeds, coriander, fennel seeds, and sesame seeds in a mixing bowl. Season the steak generously with salt and pepper, rub thoroughly with the spice mixture, and set aside.
Cut the potatoes into 1-inch pieces, place in a large pot, and cover with cold water; add enough
kosher salt until the water tastes like sea water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through and creamy, about 20 minutes.
Grill the steak over high heat, turning frequently to char evenly; I like to serve my hanger steak slightly on the rare side, about 8 minutes on a hot grill. Once you’ve cooked the steak to your liking, set it aside to rest.
Meanwhile, while the steak is grilling, drain the potatoes, then crush them roughly with a potato masher, mixing in the olive oil as you mash. Fold in the olives, horseradish to taste, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
With a sharp knife, slice the steak diagonally against the grain, which makes it a little less chewy. Serve the steak on a bed of the potatoes on a large platter, and finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of chives.