Recipe: Grilled hanger steak with chimichurri

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In my post on grilling in the city, I laid out all the basics: from how to choose a grill to fuel choices to outdoor grilling regulations. In this follow-up series, I’ll be sharing four essential grilling recipes, starting, this week, with steak.

Different people are loyal to different cuts of steak, but regardless of your personal favorite, you should consider hanger steak for your next cookout. Here’s why: hanger is full of big, beefy flavor that’s nicely tamed and accented by smoke and char. And while hanger isn’t naturally super-tender, it takes extremely well to lightning-quick cooking over high heat. Hanger steak is similar in flavor and texture to the nearby cut of skirt steak, but it’s usually priced a few dollars cheaper per pound, and it’s got some nice marbling of fat that will melt down and baste the meat as it cooks.

There are two things to remember before you throw your hanger steak on the grill. One, this is a cut of meat that tastes best cooked medium-rare. If you prefer your steak more well done, you might consider a different cut, like strip steak, which remains juicy even when cooked to medium. Secondly, remember to trim your hanger steak: it will have a thick, inedible membrane running down the center. Cut out this membrane and separate the steak into two longer, thinner pieces before cooking.

When I grill steak, I almost always take a cue from Argentina and prepare a simple chimichurri sauce to serve alongside it. This zippy blend of fresh oregano, parsley, red pepper and loads of garlic makes an ideal match for the assertive flavors of the meat. Any steak lover will be happy with this time-honored combination.

Serves 4Prep time: 25 minutes including charcoal prepCook time: 15, plus 10 minutes resting timeTotal time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ lbs. hanger steak

Preparation:

Light ¾ chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, about 20 minutes, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, preheat a gas grill to high, covered, for at least 10 minutes.

Place oregano, parsley, garlic and red pepper flakes in the bowl of a food processor and season to taste with salt and pepper. With machine running, stream in vinegar and oil and blend until almost smooth. Scrape chimichurri into a bowl and set aside.

Season steak heavily with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill for about 6 minutes per side for medium-rare, longer for medium. Transfer steak to a plate, cover with a sheet of tin foil, and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice steak thinly against the grain, lay slices on a platter and spoon chimichurri sauce over before serving.

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