An extremely aromatic and flavoursome piece of muscle meat, the onglet is probably one of the most exciting cuts offered by your local butcher. Its ferrous, mineral aroma sets it apart from the other cuts. At the same time, its intense flavour deters many less experienced meat eaters – so the onglet is more of a cut reserved for die-hard carnivores.
The international terms
- Germany – Nierenzapfen/ Zwerchfellpfeiler
- Austria – Herzzapfen
- France – Onglet
- Italy – Lombatello
- UK – Thick Skirt
- USA – Hanging Tender/Hanger Steak
What makes the onglet so special?
Hanger steaks are popular in the USA, but in Germany, they are often still something of an insider tip. One characteristic of this cut is its subtle but clearly perceptible hint of liver. It’s not an overwhelming flavour of offal, but it’s still a big difference from conventional steaks.
The diaphragm’s supporting muscle is located in the abdominal cavity of the cow and is, therefore, more likely to be classified as offal. It consists of pure muscle meat and very coarse fibres. These ensure its incomparable texture and full-bodied flavour. This special cut is found only in one location in the whole animal, both in cattle and calves.
The onglet can be braised, grilled or fried
The various ways for preparing the hanger steak are extremely versatile. It is suitable for
- and even for use in sous-vide dishes.
However, before this flexible piece can be processed further, the meat must first be freed from all tendons and the outer layer of fat, i.e. it must be pared cleanly. You can ask the butcher to do this in advance, or you can do it yourself in your kitchen at home. As a rule, the muscle is held together precisely in the middle by a thick tendon. The best way to remove this central tendon is to cut the onglet cleanly into two pieces which completely exposes it, allowing it to be removed without any problems. The resulting steaks can then be prepared whole or cut up into smaller steaks.
Preparing the onglet
Preparation follows those principles that apply to classic steaks such as the sirloin or rib eye:
- Using the grill, for example, the gas grill, the hanger steak is seared intensively on both sides and then brought to a core temperature of roughly 53°C, so that it can then still climb to 55-56°C while resting.
- To be sure that the optimum cooking level has been reached, the core temperature should be checked with the help of a thermometer.
- When cooked to “medium”, it tastes great, while in France it is traditionally served medium-rare.
In any case, always ensure to cut the steak whole across the grain after cooking to break up the very solid structure of the muscle and to make the chewing sensation more pleasant. A 45° angle is ideal for the cut –so insert the knife into the meat at a slight angle.
The flavourful hanger steak can hold its own, especially in combination with earthy and mineral-rich side dishes, such as root vegetables, turnips, cabbage or mushrooms. Nuts are also an excellent accompaniment on the plate. With its woody aroma, this unusual steak thus suits autumn and winter cuisine wonderfully.
What should I look for when buying an onglet?
Even though this special cut has become enormously popular, it still ends up as minced meat in many butchers’ shops. Therefore, it should be purchased from appropriate specialist shops and ordered in advance with sufficient time.
The surrounding part of the onglet is distinguished by its rather flat muscles and is referred to by English-speaking meat connoisseurs as the “skirt steak”. However, there is often some confusion here with the hanger steak as the lumbar part of the diaphragm. Therefore, when making your purchase, please verify which piece of the diaphragm muscle is desired, as the two cuts differ significantly.