The hanger steak is a muscle that helps support the diaphragm and is so called because it hangs independently (as opposed to being connected to a bone—hence the nickname “hanging tender”) between the rib and the loin—there’s only one per animal. The whole steak is formed in two lobes, separated by a tough vein. We remove the vein from our hanger steaks so you get both lobes in one package.
The hanger steak is a supportive muscle, rather than active muscle, so it is more tender than a muscle the animal uses a lot, the leg for example. The muscles that yield flank and skirt steaks are located roughly in the same area as the hanger and are also known for their prominent beefy flavor.
Hangers are sometimes also called the “butcher’s tenderloin” because butchers would put it away for themselves, rather sell it at retail because many consider it an unattractive cut. But looks aside, this little-known cut offers an abundance of flavor, tenderness, and juiciness if cooked no more than medium rare and sliced across the grain for serving.