A few weeks ago, I taught a grilling class at the Hillsdale General Store. We made garlic-basil chicken skewers (similar to this souvlaki), cedar plank salmon, and the hanger steak pictured here marinated with Worcestershire, garlic, and thyme. It was all quick grilling, which afforded us time to make some summery side dishes: Mark Bittman’s raw corn salad (a favorite!), soba noodles with cucumbers and scallions, dilly cucumber-yogurt sauce, and quick-pickled onions (onions + salt + vinegar).
It was also all charcoal grilling. Early in the summer, upon seeing the state of our neglected gas grill, I bought a Weber, a few chimney starters, and some new tools, including a Thermapen, a fancy instant-read thermometer that has proven to be a trusty pal. I also took the time to study up on marinating, because at the start of every grilling season the same questions seem to arise : Is marinating really necessary? And if so, for how long? Is salt in the marinade a no-no or a must? What about acid?
I found answers to all of these questions in J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s cookbook, The Food Lab, which I can’t recommend enough—so much great information is packed into that book, which reminds me both in its heft and style of my high school chemistry book. The Food Lab, however, is incredibly entertaining.
Two more things:
Hanger steak: It can be really hard to find, but it’s worth seeking out. If you find it and it arrives as pictured above in the video, you need to remove the membrane running down its center — ask the butcher to do this for you or watch the video above for guidance. Ideally, you’ll want to butterfly the remaining loins, too, to ensure fast, even cooking.
I can find hanger steak at my local farm, Buckley Farm in Ballston Lake, but also at Whole Foods Market. Be sure to call ahead. Also, if you get your hands on a hanger steak, it may have a membrane running through it. Ask the butcher to remove it and then have him/her butterfly the remaining loins. Or you can do it yourself. This video may offer some guidance: Simple Grilled Hanger Steak.
For charcoal grilling, I fill two chimney starters with coals and let them burn for about 30 minutes. Then I dump the coals into grill, replace the grate and let it heat for at least 5 minutes before placing the meat on top. I grill these uncovered when using charcoal, but when using my gas grill, I cover the grill.
- 4 cloves garlic
- A few sprigs thymes, leaves removed
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1.75 pounds hanger steak, membrane removed, loins butterflied, see notes above
- In the bowl of a food processor, make a paste with the garlic, pepper, thyme, and a pinch of salt. Place the meat in a shallow vessel. Rub the paste over the meat. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and Worcestershire. Pour this mixture over the meat. Turn the meat to coat in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare a grill for high heat. (See notes above). Wipe off excess marinade. Season meat on both sides generously with salt and pepper. Grill over hot coals uncovered, 2 to 3 minutes a side until a thermometer registers 125ºF for medium rare or 135ºF for medium. Transfer meat to a board to rest for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain. Reference the video above if you are having a hard time figuring out which way is against the grain — it’s not always easy to tell.