By JIM WILLIS
As grilling season heats up, PieHole is checking in with area butchers to see what special cuts they like to set aside for themselves to bring home and put on their grills.
You are not going to find any of these shrink-wrapped in your local grocery store’s meat case. In fact, lesser-known cuts like these are exactly the reason PieHole prefers to shop at the Green’s local butchers: affordable, great tasting cuts that we’ve never heard of before.
This week, PieHole checks in with Kyle Powell at Citarella’s Market in Red Bank. Powell tells PieHole that one of his favorite cuts for the grill, the hanger steak, is a piece of meat that used to be ground up or just tossed aside.
“The hanger is a cut that butchers used to grind up, like skirts or flank steaks,” says Powell. “Ralph’s dad [Andy Citarella] used to grind them up all the time.”
Butchers are always experimenting, and Powell says that new cuts are discovered all the time. He speculates that eventually someone figured out how to trim the cut for the grill, and realized it was a delicious, flavorful cut on its own.
But to keep the hanger out of the grinder means trimming it up correctly for the grill, and that requires a knowledgeable butcher’s skillful hand and knife.
“If you don’t cut the steak right, it’s just going to be a tough, really gristly piece of meat,” says Powell.
Fortunately for grillers on the Green, Powell knows what he’s doing. “We sell a lot of these,” he says. “It’s a very popular cut for us right now.”
Hanger steaks weigh in at just around one pound, and cost $12.99 a pound.
Powell suggests cooking with some salt, pepper and olive oil, and then three-to-four minutes per side on very hot grill. ”We also have them ready to go in a nice marinade that we make that with olive oil, a little brown sugar and Italian dressing,” says Powell.
The hanger cut makes for a great steak – indeed, in France, it’s referred to as onglet, and it’s the preferred cut for steak frites.
Powell says it’s also makes for a great steak sandwich.
“You don’t want to use a tough piece of meat for a steak sandwich, and the hanger is so tender it’s perfect for the sandwich,” he says.