Friday, January 25, 2013

Sous Vide Hanger Steak

Sous Vide Hanger Steak

When you have a sous vide setup, "steak" is one of the most obvious answers to the "So what should I cook in this thing?" question. Now, I'm not a huge steak guy normally, but that's actually precisely why sous vide is the perfect method for me to use to cook a steak. I just don't have that much experience cooking steaks, and thus even armed with a fancy thermometer I can overcook them quite easily. With sous vide it's basically impossible, even on cuts that are considered hard to cook.

Raw Hanger Steak

What you see above is a hanger steak, which comes from under the diaphragm of the cow. It's a relatively inexpensive steak (about $7 a pound) that still is full of flavor, but only displays its greatness when cooked to a doneness ranging from medium to medium-rare. Undercook it and it's mush, overcook it and it's rubber. It takes a skilled cook to keep the meat in that narrow temperature range by traditional methods... which brings us back around to sous vide. Even an idiot like me can't screw that up.

In Bags with Aromatics

Following this guide from Serious Eats makes the whole process super easy. Preheat your water bath to 130'F (for medium-rare). Aggressively salt and pepper your steaks and then seal them in a bag with aromatics like shallot, garlic, and thyme. Then drop them in the water bath anywhere from 45 minutes to 12 hours... meaning you can do this before you head to work in the morning with no problem. When you are ready to eat, just pull 'em out the bag and pat them down. Then you just sear them in oil for about a minute a side.

Couldn't be easier to cook the perfect steak... "restaurant cut" or no.


  1. That looks really good. I've been meaning to try a hanger steak since I first made my sous-vide, but it's been super hard to track down. Usually I do flat iron, which is nice, but I've been curious how hanger might differ. FINALLY found hanger for sale today! I'm just worried now because it's a pretty thin cut, so I don't want to ruin it by over-searing at the end.

    Yours looks so much thinner in the pre-cooked pic, than in the cooked photo. Is that the same steak? Did it sort of tighten-up as it sous-vided? If so, I may not have anything to worry about.

  2. They are the same steaks, but I'm honestly not sure whether the sliced and cooked one in the top picture is on the right or the left in the uncooked picture. I had one that was more cylindrical (pictured) and one that was flatter and maybe 3/4" thick. In either case, a minute sear on each side hardly penetrated the meat in any noticeably way... so I don't really think you have to worry too much. They did tighten up a bit, if I recall correctly, but I think it was mainly on the sear.