Our Grilled Hanger Steak with Homemade Steak Sauce is a showstopper summer grilling dish worthy of entertaining. Thank you to Red Gold Tomatoes for partnering with us on it!
Grilled Hanger Steak with Homemade Steak Sauce
Summer nights are for leisurely patio dinners, crisp rosé, and Grilled Hanger Steak with Homemade Steak Sauce.
With an ultra crispy, salty, and slightly spicy crust on the outside and a melty medium-rare center, all drenched in a tangy, buttery steak sauce, our go-to summer steak just may be the shining star of grilling season.
Covering the petite-sized steaks (more on the variety later) with a heavy dousing of rub helps to create a really lovey crust on the outside of the steak as soon as it hits the screaming hot grill.
And the steak sauce? You’ll want to drink this stuff with a straw, or at least slather it on every grilled protein from now until eternity. We start with a brown butter and onion tomato base and then layer in savory Worcestershire sauce, salty soy sauce, tangy vinegar (two kinds), and just a hint of sweetness. It also comes to together in virtually no time at all, making it taste all the better.
I too often get stuck in the rut of hot dogs and brats when entertaining family and friends in the summertime, but our Grilled Hanger Steak with its ridiculously easy preparation, quick cooking process and completely addictive flavors is my new favorite way to entertain. And will be yours too.
When it comes to steak, there’s the usual suspects – filet mignon, ribeye, sirloin, among others – but we so often forget some of the more underutilized cuts of beef out there. Hanger steak is one of them. Which is a shame because it happens to be one of my favorite cuts of beef out there.
Not only is it super quick cooking, but it’s very inexpensive. A whole pound of meat, easily enough to feed four people will set you back a mere $12 (at my local Whole Foods).
If you’re not familiar with hanger steak, it’s a tender cut of meat located between the rib and loin. Very similar to skirt or flank steak in that it needs to be cooked medium rare and sliced thinly to retain it’s tender state. It takes well to marinades, but a marinade is definitely not necessary.
I find if you cook it right, the flavor is up there with a ribeye or strip steak, but the tenderness is right in line with a filet. This means no medium, no medium-well and the instant read thermometer is your best friend.
We keep things pretty simple when it comes to the rub we slather on the grilled hanger steak, but that doesn’t mean it lacks flavor. I wanted to sort of mimic the flavors of a steak au poivre so first we go heavy on the freshly cracked black pepper. Make sure to use freshly cracked black pepper, the pre ground stuff just doesn’t have the same pungency to it.
The key to achieving a really nice crust on any steak is to use a heavy hand of kosher salt. My typical rule of thumb is one teaspoon of salt per pound of meat. Since our hanger steaks are about 1/2 pound each, I use 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt per steak.
This may seem like a lot of salt, but trust me, you’ll need it.
The last ingredient in the rub is garlic powder. This adds just a hint of garlic, but it also helps to facilitate that caramelized crust when the hanger steak hits the grill.
Red Gold Ketchup
Like many steak sauces out there, the star ingredient in our homemade steak sauce is ketchup, particularly our favorite brand, Red Gold Tomatoes. Not only does ketchup add a nice tomato base, but it adds a trifecta of sweetness, tanginess, and acidity to the steak sauce you can’t get with any other ingredient.
We’ve talked many times about our love for Red Gold Tomatoes (Most recently in our Tomato Orzo) and for good reason, this family owned company has become a mainstay in our kitchen. Their products, including the ketchup, are made with wholesome quality ingredients and because the tomatoes are picked at their peak ripeness, there’s no need to add anything artificial.
Every single product I’ve tried from their canned tomatoes to their salsa has been beyond delicious with a fresh tastes that’s hard to find anywhere else. I swear by them!
As if the aforementioned wasn’t reason enough to hop aboard the Red Gold Tomatoes train, they’re teaming up with Folds of Honor right now. Any time you buy their Folds of Honor ketchup or other products, a portion of the proceeds goes directly towards the Folds of Honor Foundation that helps to support the education of fallen or disabled soldiers’ children.
Butter + onion + garlic. A lot of steak sauces simply throw a bunch of ingredients in a bowl and mix it together, which is fine but I wanted to add a few more layers of flavor to ours. The combination of brown butter plus softened (but not browned) onion and garlic is a really nice subtle base to our homemade steak sauce.
Worcestershire sauce. To me, Worcestershire sauce is synonymous with steak. It has a really nice savory flavor that pairs well with meat so next to the ketchup, it’s the most prominent ingredient.
Vinegar. I could not decide between the sweeter acidity of balsamic vinegar or the more pungent acidity found apple cider vinegar so I used both.
Dijon mustard. This adds a really nice tang and subtle spice to the homemade steak sauce. If you don’t like the punch it has, you could swap out plain yellow mustard.
Soy sauce. Admittedly, soy sauce seems like an odd ingredient to use in a steak sauce, but it has a really lovely salt and umami factor that lends really well to sauces and marinates. We use low-sodium but any kind will do.
Water. While the steak sauce will taste lovely without water, it’s a little on the thicker side, so you need it to thin the sauce out.
Let’s make Grilled Hanger Steak with Homemade Steak Sauce
Preheat the grill. The key to a great char on a grilled steak is a super hot grill, so make sure to preheat it. I like mine to reach a temperature of at least 500 degrees before adding the steak. This is usually a high to medium-high setting.
Make the sauce. Because hanger steak cooks so incredibly fast, I like to get the sauce going before I throw the steaks on. First, melt the butter over a medium-high heat in a small saucepan. Let the butter start to brown and then swirl the pan until it turns a deep brown color and smells nutty.
Browning the butter isn’t a mandatory step, but I like to do it to add another layer of flavor to the homemade steak sauce.
Once the butter is brown it will be HOT, so let it cool off for about 30 seconds before adding the onion and garlic. When you do add the onion and garlic, sweat them over a medium-low heat. If at any point you see the onion or garlic start to brown, turn the heat down even more.
Add the ingredients to the food processor. While the onion and garlic cook, add the
Season the steaks. While the onion and garlic are sweating, season the steak. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels. Use a pastry or grill brush to coat the steaks with a little bit of olive oil. Evenly sprinkle the salt, garlic powder, and black pepper all over the steaks.
Make the sauce. When the onions and garlic are soft, add to the mini food processor or blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
How to grill hanger steak
A swift cooking process is the key to a perfectly grilled hanger steak. After you’ve seasoned it properly and preheated your grill, add the steak to the hottest part of the grill.
Close the lid and let it get a nice crust on it. It should take about 3-4 minutes.
Flip it over and let it cook another 2-3 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 130 degrees.
As we mentioned before, it’s important to only cook Hanger steak to medium-rare otherwise you risk it becoming tough. I find the perfect internal temperature for my liking is to take it off the heat at about 130 degrees. Let it set for about 10 minutes and the temperature will rise to a perfect 135 degrees or medium-rare. If you like yours cooked a little bit more, you could leave the hanger steak on until it reached 133 degrees.
Not only is the resting time important for carryover cooking, but it’s the way the meat stays nice and moist since the juices have a chance to redistribute throughout the steak. When you’re ready, slice into 1/4-inch pieces and serve with plenty of homemade steak sauce.
Can I make Grilled Hanger Steak in advance?
You can’t make the steak in advance, but you can make the homemade steak sauce up to a week in advance. Be sure to store in the fridge.
Tools we used for this recipe
- Instant read thermometer. This is a must-have gadget for grilling and cooking in general.
- Mini food processor. Lugging out our high power blender or food processor can be a pain, so I love having a mini version I can easily reach for.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- For a more complex rub, add a little bit of garlic powder, smoked paprika, or cayenne pepper for heat.
- Be sure your grill is screaming hot. This is the key to getting that gorgeous char you see in our photos.
- For a sweeter homemade steak sauce, double or triple up the honey in the recipe.
- Be sure to season the steak sauce with plenty of salt and pepper to taste.
- For more tang, add a little bit more Dijon mustard.
What to serve with Grilled Hanger Steak
- The ultimate summer side is our Creamy Pasta Salad – everyone goes CRAZY over this classic. (And don’t miss the secret ingredient that makes it truly addictive.)
- If you want something a little healthier we adore this Chickpea and Cucumber Salad with Tahini Dressing.
- Our Burrata Panzanella and our Heirloom Tomato Salad or two showstopper salads worthy of entertaining.
- 2 8 oz hanger steaks - 2 1/2-3 inches in diameter
- 2 tsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp minced onion
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup Red Gold Ketchup
- 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 3/4 tsp black pepper, divided
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp water
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Sauce pan
- Preheat grill to high. Pull the steaks out of the fridge and let them come to room temp while you prepare the sauce.
- Add butter to a small saucepan or skillet set over a medium-high heat. Let the butter melt. When it starts to turn brown on the edges, swirl the pan until the butter turns deep brown and smells nutty. Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly. Add the onion and garlic. Reduce the heat on the stove to medium-low and return the skillet to the heat. Sweat the onion and garlic until soft, about 3 minutes. If at any time the onion and garlic starts to brown, turn the heat down. When the onion and garlic are soft, remove from the stove.
- While the onion and garlic sweat, add the Red Gold Ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, honey, soy sauce, ½ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, both vinegars, and water to a mini food processor or blender.
- When the onion and garlic are soft, add to the processor with the other ingredients. Blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pat the steaks dry with paper towels. Brush on all sides with olive oil. Combine the remaining teaspoon salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle each steak on all sides with the mixture.
- Place the steak on the grill and shut the hood. Cook for 3 minutes or until crisp and charred. Use tongs to flip over and cook on the other side until medium-rare, another 2-3 minutes. To be sure when the steak is done, use an instant read thermomotor – pull the steak off when the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees. Remember, hanger steak is a thin cut of meat and takes very little time to cook, so stay nearby the grill.
- Let the steak rest for 10 minutes. The carryover cooking will bring it up to medium-rare (135 degrees) and redistribute all the juices. Slice into ¼-1/2 inch pieces. Serve with steak sauce.