Hanger steak is a small cut (about the size of your hand).
It is very popular in France, but available in North America only at specialty butchers. It is from the plate at the lower part of the diaphragm of the cow, between the loin and the last rib and attached to the bottom of the last rib (roughly between the two kidneys.)
It has a coarse grain, which makes it a bit chewy, but its generous marbling melts while cooking making the meat extremely juicy and flavourful.
In North America, hanger steak has been hard to market. There is only one hanger steak per cow carcass, plus the meat turns dark quickly as it is in one of the first areas exposed after slaughtering — and consumers have preferred a rosy red colour to their beef. Thus one of its names, “Butcher’s Steak”, implying that the butcher would just take it home himself.
It is gaining in popularity, though, as people realize it is one of the cuts used in making the classic French “steak frites” (steak with French fries.)
The steak is about 7 inches (18 cm) long and can be cut into two steaks.
Hanger Steak can be grilled, broiled or barbequed, but it has to be cooked rare, or it will become tough. The French pan fry them to rare, and serve with a sauce that uses the pan juices, adding for example red wine, vinegar, shallots, butter and herbs.