Hanger steaks and filet mignon are two very different cuts of meat. Despite their differences, both can be very flavorful when cooked with the right techniques. In order to determine which is right for you and your guests, let’s compare them in another BBQ Showdown.
How do hanger steaks and filet mignon differ?
Hanger steaks differ from filet mignon in terms of where they come from on the cow, how they taste, and the length of time it takes to cook them. Other differences between the two cuts include price and appearance.
For a long time, hanger steaks were reserved solely for restaurant use or were used for making ground beef. It was popular because it offered a similar depth of flavor as more expensive steaks like ribeye but without the high cost. Hanger steaks have a coarse texture and long muscle fibers much like flank steaks. The texture can make them tricky to cook.
In comparison, the filet mignon is one of the most prized and sought-after cuts of meat. Filet mignon tends to have a mild flavor, unlike hanger steaks that are enjoyed because they deliver a strong beef flavor. The mildness makes this cut ideal for people who do not particularly like steak. Filet mignon is also perfect for anyone who wants their meat lean since it is low in fat.
The main reason that filet mignon is prized is its texture, which is extremely tender. How tender? You can cut prime filet mignon with a fork, that’s how tender.
Where on the steer do you find hanger steaks and filet mignon steaks?
The hanger steak is named for the fact that it comes from what is called the hanging tender. The hanging tender is that section of the diaphragm muscle that is connected to the rearmost section of the last rib. It literally hangs from the diaphragm muscle.
Filet mignon comes from the small end of the tenderloin, also called the short loin. This cut is found at the back of the animal’s rib cage. This is a part of the steer that is not exercised, so it does not get toughened.
Is one easier to grill than the other?
Hanger steaks are tricky to cook because they tend to dry out quickly. This is one of those steaks that you need to cook medium rare or medium. It will be too mushy if cooked rare and too leathery if cooked well done. To get a nice crust and a medium or medium rare interior, you will need a very high heat. A charcoal or infrared grill is recommended. You should also opt for an acidic marinade rather than a dry rub. An acid can help to soften the muscle fibers.
Filet mignon can be intimidating for many home cooks simply because of the price. The key is to go hot and fast. With filet mignon, direct dry heat is recommended. If working with a gas grill, set your temperature above the 500-degree mark.
Which cut is more expensive?
The filet mignon is considerably more expensive than the hanger steak. In fact, it is more expensive than most beef cuts simply because there is so little of it per animal. It is estimated that each steer only has about 12 pounds of filet mignon. This is a relatively tiny amount given the fact that cattle typically weigh between 1,600 and 2,400 pounds individually.
As noted above, hanger steaks were originally popular largely because of their low price. In recent years, they have become trendier like other once-scorned cuts. The result is that the price is higher than it used to be but is still relatively affordable, especially when considered against filet mignon.