Hanger steak comparison
Posted 13 June 2010 - 03:35 PM
I cooked them using my usual method - pan sear over medium high heat with olive oil in an All-clad skillet until browned (usually about 1 min per side), then cook in convection oven at 425 degrees to rare (usually 4-6 minutes, depending on thickness). I then let the steaks rest for 10 minutes before serving. These steaks were all pre-marinaded from the butcher, and I used the drippings from the pan to sauce. FYI, I always use All-clad or my cast iron skillet as they are safe in the oven, and do a good job at searing/browning the meat. Maybe it's my lack of skill, but I've never been able to get a proper sear in an aluminum/nonstick pan, no matter how high I turn up the heat. The meat just turns out sort of grey and blah.
So here we go:
Fairway - Not a specialty NYC butcher per se, but it's in my neighborhood and my usual go-to place so I thought I'd use it as a baseline. Their hanger steak is a good value at $7.99lb. I find that hangers here vary in quality/cut so take a look at what you're getting if you don't want a thin one. Their Teriyaki flavored marinade is a bit overpowering ad sweet to my taste, but many of my guests have liked and even preferred over Ottomanelli's. I have generally gotten better meat at the 76th/Broadway location than the 125th/Riverside store. From the taste, I suspect the meat often sits in the case longer at the Harlem location. These hangers were not quite as tender as those from the other places. Be careful not to cook them past rare or medium rare at most or they'll be tough.
Simchick's - Better quality than Fairway and a more subtle marinade. At $11.00 lb. well worth the extra if you live in the neighborhood. Not sure I'd make a trip for it though. Can't speak to consistency as this my first trip here.
Ottomanelli's – Maybe slightly better quality than Simchick, also better flavor and marinade in my opinion. I've bought here a number of times and consistency has been excellent as is their service. They are very good at cutting to your specifications and friendly no matter what you ask for. I'll travel to buy here over Fairway when I have the time.
Lobel's - The best quality of all by a noticeable margin. The hanger was thicker, more uniform, more tender, and the marinade was by far my favorite. Not sure what it was, but it tasted a bit of Worchesteshire. The actual flavor of the meat wasn't necessarily better than Ottomanelli's, but maybe a bit milder. Its tenderness and less gamey flavor almost made it seem like a "filet mignon" of hanger steak if that makes sense. However, it cost 3x more at $30.00lb. Also, I was a bit put out by their service. I walked in and asked for roughly a pound of hanger. Instead of cutting a steak to my specifications as at Ottomanelli's, the guy just walked around the counter to the refrigerated case and handed me a pre-packaged steak. This cost me about $45.00, and I was so shocked I asked him to weigh it. It weighed 1.5 lbs, and I noticed on the Lobel's website that this is advertised as "2x 16-18 oz. hangers" for $40.98. I'm not sure if they are fudging on their pre-packaged steaks or if I just got unlucky. It did tick me off that I ended up overpaying on an underweight steak that was already overpriced to begin with! So the meat here was the winner, but I won't be returning to Lobel's any time soon due to price. For that money I can get dry-aged NY Strips from other NYC butchers.
Final Verdict - Ottomanelli's wins my vote for quality, consistency, value and friendly service.
I'd welcome any recommendations from other eGullet members for other butchers I could try to add to this comparison.
Posted 13 June 2010 - 03:57 PM
I assume you're ok with marinating it yourself, or not marinating at all.
Posted 14 June 2010 - 12:38 AM