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Hanger,Beef Flap (Bavette),Flank and Skirt Steaks

Thirty years ago, none of these were seen much on restnt menus in my area (Boston.) It was flank steak that was the cheap preferred cut for grilling in the 60's and 70's. Now we're seeing many more cuts. IIRC, hanger prices have sharply escalated recently and so bavette and others are being seen more. Could someone help me undertand these cuts and which are good for what?

I'm not a beef tenderloin girl; i look for flavor first, tenderness etc second.
This link below is really terrific and it answers my post in many ways, but i would still love your CH opinions as well.Thx so much for your help.


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  1. They are all good for stir fry. :P

    1. I would agree they are all good for Stir-Fry...and add Fajitas..but they are all equally good as more inexpensive options for steak...particularly when used for slice steak.

      I would consider Hanger and Flat-Iron to be two of the most flavorful and tender cuts of Beef. On sale, or if you have access to a Wholesale/Restaurant Cash & Carry, they can both be had for $4-5/lb.

      1. Flap meat, ie steak tips have been around for ever.

        1. We eat skirt in place of "steak" all the time. Actually it is probably what we eat most these days of any beef cut.

          Sliced properly, it is not a tough cut at all.

          1. I like them all and when I pick up my beef half next week, the flank steak will get cooked before the porterhouses.

            1. I use flank every week in stir fries. Hanger is too livery tasting for me.

              1. I love skirt and flank. If you're looking for flavor they're wonderful. However, if you say you prize "tenderness" then you might find them chewier than you're used to.

                2 Replies
                1. re: PegS

                  To the OP, you have to be sure to slice very thinly against the grain and they have more bite than a say a ribeye but I don't mind it.

                  1. re: PegS

                    We eat a lot of skirt and never have tough slices.

                    We cook to med-rare and pre slice after allowing to rest for a few minutes. Thin, against the grain and it doesn't get much better...in flavor or tenderness.

                  2. I love flank steak - we eat more of it than any other cut these days. Flap meat is actually my favorite, but it's a bit fattier than flank (a good thing in terms of flavor, but doesn't work as well with my DH's current diet), and due to its size and shape, not quite as versatile. Skirt is also wonderful, though I tend to use it mostly for fajitas. Flap is my favorite for kebabs, while I choose flank for making roulades, stirfries and plain grilling. Skirt and flap also make EXCELLENT ground beef.

                    Hanger steak is a bit different in flavor to me - it has a touch of livery-ness. I don't dislike it, but it doesn't work in all the same preparations as the other three. That said, it is very tender, and quite lovely grilled and sauced (I like it with chimichurri or something with a strong acid component to cut the liver flavor).

                    1. I love skirt steak pan seared and rare. I find it reasonably tender and quite flavorful, especially with a butter, shallot, red wine reduction with plenty of salt and pepper and frites with mayonnaise. Tomorrow night!

                      1. I grew up eating hanger and skirt on a regular basis. And while OP may not have seen these in Boston area restaurants 30 years ago Hanger steaks overhanging huge dinner plates were a staple item at NY Jewish meat restaurants such as Lou G. Siegel, Sammy's Roumanian (See Arthur Schwartz's 2004 volume on NY City Food and the section on 'Romanian Steakhouses').
                        I buy inside skirt for marinating and grilling.
                        I use outside skirt to grind with neck for my favorite hamburger mix

                        1. We use skirt steak all the time for carne asada, fajitas, or just grilled simply with a bold sauce over it after being grilled, like a chimichurri.

                          I also love Flat Irons, seasoned and grilled simply. They rival a rib eye, to me, in flavor & tenderness. I also use flank steak a lot, but prefer a wet marinade on it, which tenderizes it beautifully.

                          1. Hanger (onglet) and bavette are bistro steaks to me whereas I've generally had flank and skirt steaks in stir-fry and tacos.

                            As a "steak" my personal preference is for onglet over any of the popular cuts. Flavorful and tender, but you have to cook it properly.

                            If you want beefy flavor, nothing is quite like a little tongue.

                            1. I love them all and I usually eat them with salt and pepper or a good spice rub and sear in a piping hot cast iron pan. My favorite by far is hanger, then flap, skirt and flank. Once I discovered these cuts I rarely buy ribeye anymore which used to be my go to favorite. Also, you might want to try flat iron if you haven't.

                              1. Lately I have been using a method I saw on ATK for tenderizing meat for stir-frying. You soak bite-sized raw pieces for 15 minutes in a mixture of a tsp baking soda in a half cup of water, then rinse several times and pat dry. The baking soda deactivates the enzyme that causes protein strands, when heated, to contract, which forces out the moisture in the meat. So the meat stays moister and more tender. It works very well and does not affect flavor. I have been tempted to try it on flap meat when using that cut as a pan-seared steak. It might or might not work - a function of how far the solution can penetrate the meat. Certainly should work on minute steaks.

                                Anyone else up for some experimenting?

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: greygarious

                                  grey, what a fascinating technique. i will def try that on tougher cuts like flank steak. (i'm guessing, but unsure, that the bak soda soak could also work on flank steak cut in strips for grilling and not in tiny bite size for stir fry?)But afaik, flap meat is a very tender cut already. no need to tenderize.

                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                    You're right about the flap meat but I have several pieces in the freezer and if I can remember next time I make steak, I will cut one in half and treat one piece, then compare to see if there's any difference. I am sure it would work for strips of flank steak, as long as they are not more than a half inch thick. Again, the interesting thing would be to treat only part of the meat, and compare. If you try it, please report back.

                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                      Do let us know about the flank stk. We grill them, after marinating for a couple or 4 hours in Catalina French Dressing, but just found Korean Chicken marinade is better. We have them at least once a week.
                                      thanks Opinionatedchef.

                                      1. re: Nanzi

                                        when I was young, my mom used to cut flank stk in strips, holding the knife on the diagonal, marinate in Italian salad dressing overnight, roll up into a spiral, wrap bacon strips around and toothpick; then grill. Great taste memories!

                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                          That is one of those things that instinctively sounds good and I will write it down so as not to forget :-)

                                    2. re: greygarious

                                      gg.... This sounds very similar to how I "velvet" chicken, with the addition of a little soy sauce and an egg white added to 1 tsp of baking soda. It makes the most tender piece of chicken, never dry. (Using breast meat which is usually awful!)

                                    3. I had never heard of flap meat until yesterday when the meat guy at my farmers' market talked me into trying it. Apparently it's the cut that's usually used for fajitas, and it's also very popular in Argentina. Anyways, I followed his instructions to season it with nothing more than a little salt and grill for 15 minutes per side over medium-high heat. That took it beyond my preferred medium rare but it was delicious as promised. I even liked the incinerated thin pieces at the ends.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: cookie monster

                                        It's a wonderful steak, I usually cook much less time and it's also great. Everyone always recommends these cuts for fajitas, but the are so great on their own.

                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          Yes, for my first time with it i decided to follow the vendor's instructions rather than my instincts, but next time I'll definitely cook it less.

                                        2. re: cookie monster

                                          Our family has been eating flap meat for years. I season it with s/p/g, sear both sides over screaming lump charcoal, then slice 3/4" thick slices across the grain & sear both sides of the slices to a nice char & med inside. Very different flavor and very good. (Chewy / gummy if to rare)

                                        3. Hanger is what I grew up having for steak as a kid in the 1960s and 1970s. (And we did not have it cut into two pieces to avoid the thick membrane that runs through it; we ate all that.) It was more reasonably priced then. When butchery died in favor of meat cutting, it vanished from reach in most meat retailing establishments. Then, 20 or more years ago, it got discovered in fashionable restaurants, and the prices doubled or more.

                                          The real problem is that there are few real butchers who actually do more than cut up sections of meat, so all the interesting bits are lost to the restaurant trade or put other wholesale uses.

                                          I do find the French beef cut charts more interesting and thoughtful, FWIW.

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: Karl S

                                            Karl...actually the problem is that their are few real butchers. Boxed Beef (primal cuts in cryovac packaging) that arrives from the slaughterhouse has done away with butchers. We grew up in a world where trucks pulled up to the butcher shop or supermarket and beef on the hoof (an hanging carcass) moved into the shop on rails or was manhandled into the walkin and hung. A butcher's craft was necessary to break it down. Today many cuts such as the hanger end up in the massive grind at the slaughterhouse.
                                            Just try asking you local meat purveyor for 'inside skirt' they either will be clueless as to what it is or tell you it's not available.
                                            I still buy a few forequarters a year of locally raised and slaughtered beef and butcher it myself to my desires.

                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                              You can't imagine how many times I've walked into a store and asked the "butcher" for any number of cuts only to be looked at blankly like I was some crazy person. I'm sure there are more cuts, but the ones I can remember being laughed at about are spinalis (ribeye cap), cuolotte (sirloin cap), tri tip (I live on the East coast), Flap, outside skirt, and Hanger. It's frustrating when I'm made to feel like the idiot even though it seems I'm more educated than they are about certain cuts. I've even mentioned NAMP numbers to no avail.

                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                It is frustrating to say the least

                                                A butcher shop opened not far from me. A rarity in my world. I went in and asked about a few specialty cuts. I got a sense I knew more than the butcher. They have a big vacuum tumbler marinater gizmo and a good half of the case was dominated by this dark meat that had been marinated. Who knows the quality of the meat that went into that thing cuz you sure can't tell the quality once it came out and the marinade would cover off flavors up to a point. Just scary.

                                                I would love to see a butcher shop in my area that has a side of beef hanging ready to be cut into primals, then broken down into individual cuts. In my dreams

                                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                                  Boxed beef is so much more convenient and $$ safer than hanging beef because you don't have to have a niche market for the stuff few people want and its far less physically demanding. I am extremely fortunate to have a friend who is an old school butcher who has worked with hanging beef his whole life and still does but he is a hold out from a past generation.

                                                  if you can find a source of good high choice branded/certified" sub primals such as (CAB, Sterling Silver or Chairman's Reserve) and have a second fridge you can end up with a damn good aged product that will rival extremely good steakhouses at 25% $$.

                                                2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                  More likely Cutters, not Butchers. Many cuts are called different things but if you gave the NAMP #'s and they still didn't know they are not butchers.

                                                  1185A Sirloin Flap is one of my favorites. If you know somebody with a Sysco or US Foods account or a butcher you can get a case of it (about 12 - 16 lbs if I remember correctly). Waite until the late Jan early Feb beef price crash and $4.00 lb (choice) should be no problem. Split with a foodie friend, portion, vacuum seal & freeze. Then its Flap on demand :-)

                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                    spinalls dorsi and culotte same thing. I'n not sure if you can buy the sirloin cap. but i have taken the ones from whole strip loins and they are delicious, in the same sense as the cap from the rib eye. At the restaurant i work at, we buy whole ribeyes, remove the cap for specials and sell the center muscle bone in rib eyes as "cowgirl" steaks.

                                                    1. re: Chefal247

                                                      Spinalis and coulotte are not the same I don't think. Spinalis is from ribeye and coulotte is a sirloin cap which you can definitely buy.

                                                  2. re: bagelman01

                                                    Agreed. That what I was trying to say.

                                                    It also helped when many families had relatives in the trade; the butchers in the extended family tended to educate their extended family as customers, so customers learned specifically what to ask for and what could be asked for. This knowledge was passed down and around neighbors, et cet.

                                                    * * *

                                                    When I was doing the Judy Rodgers (Zuni Cafe) roast lamb one Easter, I went to a butcher in my Italian market to ask if they knew how to provide a boneless leg of lamb, but boned corkscrew rather than butterfly. Most meat cutters today would not know how to do this without producing a very piece of meat with a lot of flaps (almost butterflied). These guys did a great job, and I was able to tie the thing up into a relatively even roast (the point of JR's specific instruction). 50 years ago, this would have been much more common knowledge among men one found on the other side of the butcher block.

                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                      It's quite unfortunate. In fact this morning my butcher gazed confused when after I looked at the meat case and asked if they had any chuck end ribeyes to which he responded "yea, right here" as he pointed to an entire case of loin end steaks with minimal cap muscle. I have fortunately found a nice Italian deli which carries Hanger and Tri Tip and last week I was able to get a grass fed sirloin cap and Tri Tip but had to call the store the day the sirloin came in so that it could be cut off before they ground it up for burgers. It seems I'll have to butcher my own cow if I want a spinalis steak at an affordable price, none of the stores seem to get the full primal anymore and when they do aren't willing to cut off the cap which is understandable as then all the rib steaks would be cap-less.

                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        The unfortunate answer to the three above posts is that you are generally not speaking to butchers. That man or woman in the white coat is a meat cutter, who breaks down the primal cuts of boxed beef, puts it on the styrofoam trays, covers in polywrap, prces and tosses it in the showcase.

                                                        Last week a neighbor who was recovering from a knee replacement asked me to get a pound of hamburger at the supermarket for a recipe. She was specific, she wanted ONE POUND. I walked into Stop and Shop and every package was 1.3 pounds. It comes in prepackaged from their central warehouse. I asked the meat manager for a pound of ground sirloin and he laughed ta me.. He said: 'you don't think we grind beef here in the store do you?' I replied, no, but you can repackage the amount I want to buy.He refused, I went and got the store manager, who ordered a meat cutter to repack and weigh ONE POUND. The store manager told me point blank, the union help is totally uncooperative. I said to the manager, the only competition you have in the area is Big Y and their ads read, we grind in the sore several time a day. Manager said, corporate doesn't care.

                                                        I don't buy meat in the supermarket, so it doesn't effect me, but what a turnoff.

                                                3. My problem is--as much as I love skirt, flank, flat iron--my grocers do not put these cuts on sale,

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: bourbonnie

                                                    Very true, never on sale here either.

                                                  2. Here in SoCal we have lots of skirt steak and flap meat available for Carne Asada. I love it but my wife says it's "too fatty". She's a very textural eater and I can't seem to convince her that the "fat" she sees on the raw meat mostly cooks away on the grill. My guess is that part of this comes from the 'heavier' nature of the grain (if that's the correct term) of these cuts.

                                                    My question: are there specific similar cuts that might satisfy both if us?

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: Midlife

                                                      Flat iron is wonderful! Denser grain and super flavorful and tender. Also flank would be great for her it sounds, or tri tip flavorful but lean. I also really like top sirloin which is a wonderful cut often overlooked. I love hanger but it has more of a grain-related texture than flap so that probably won't work.

                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        But aren't both flatiron and trit-ip much thicker cuts? Not sure I'd consider them 'similar' really. We grill tri-tip all the time, but it's the thin hanger steak that absorbs so much spice and marinade and grills very quickly.

                                                        1. re: Midlife

                                                          I didn't realize your post was referring to thickness. My flat irons are usually less than an inch thick, tri tip is thicker but I've never see a really thick flat iron. If you're looking for thin, that would be my choice or a thin cut top sirloin.

                                                      2. re: Midlife

                                                        As someone else who's really not fond of "fatty" steaks (e.g. I'm the only meat eater I know who doesn't like rib eye), I would urge your wife to give flap meat a try. It did look very fatty to me when I took it out of the package, and I trimmed away some but far from all of the exterior fat, but the remaining fat did indeed cook away on the grill and the finished product had none of the chewy/greasy/fatty texture that I dislike.

                                                      3. if you are looking strictly for beef flavor...not necessarily in a steak, but just to satisfy your cravings....consider roasting beef/meat at very low temperatures. It can be done with Top Blade/ Flat Iron, Tri-Tip, Sirloin and others.....but below is sliced beef/steak from an every day Chuck Roast. I usually only season with Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, but you could use other ingredients to make it more tender.e.g., citrus, vinegar, wine or fruit.

                                                        This was Certified Angus Beef purchased at my local supermarket on sale for $3.21/lb. The regular Choice offering was $2.99/lb. You can easily feed four for 1.50-2.00 per generous serving.

                                                        * Pan seared
                                                        * 100 minutes @ 225* on a rack
                                                        * Held inside the oven @ 170* for one hour.
                                                        * Sliced

                                                        No thermometer was used.

                                                        1. I just pulled out a nice looking flap steak. I usually keep it simple with salt and pepper and a compound butter, but I think I'll try the salt uncovered technique to see if I notice any difference in tenderness.

                                                          1. Any ideas what to expect from a tri tip? As the OP mentioned I'm a flavor finest, tenderness etc second kind of girl loving hanger and flap meat. Even top sirloin is great and a weekly occurrence. It's flavor I'm after with beef usually. Should I plan to season this more heavily or will it give a big beefy flavor like my other favorites?

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                              We grill tri-tip often. I season it liberally with my own dry rub and let it sit in the fridge for several hours. I rub it with a light coating of olive oil before grilling, then use a BBQ or grilling sauce for the last few minutes to finish it. Medium rare, sliced at an angle, 1/4" slices or so. One of our favorites.

                                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                                Unfortunately there's no grill available but I thought I could roast in the oven. It's pretty small 1 1/4 lb or so.

                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                  Yes, you can roast it too. It will probably only need about 20 minutes at 400. Or you could do a lower, slower oven.

                                                            2. A thick boneless ribeye is my favorite, after that I would have to say tri-tip.