Hanging tenderloin, also referred to as hanger steak or butcher's steak, is a large, flat cut of beef that is both flavorful and chewy when cooked many ways--but only if prepared correctly. The hanging tenderloin is a connective muscle that connects the the last rib and spine to the diaphragm of the cow. The meat is coarse and grainy, and it has a strong "beefy" flavor because hanging tenderloin comes from near the kidney area of the cow, which imparts a gentle offal-like taste.
Remove the thick membrane running through the center of the steak if desired. This will divide the hanging tenderloin into two smaller cuts. If eaters don't mind the soft gristle, leaving the thick membrane intact will make it easier to cook the meat to a medium to medium-rare temperature.
Fill a resealable bag or large bowl with marinade. Soy, teriyaki and dijon-based marinades are common choices with steak, but any marinade will serve to soften the natural coarseness of hanging tenderloin.
Submerge the steak fully into the marinade, and then place the bag or bowl in the refrigerator. Allow the steak to marinade for a minimum of 2 to 3 hours. Many people let steak marinade overnight to impart maximum flavor and texture.
Remove the hanging tenderloin from the marinade. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the steak as desired. Dry heat methods such as grilling or broiling are often used. Avoid overcooking or undercooking the steak. Medium to medium-rare temperature is preferred as it will give the steak a soft, chewy texture while medium-well or higher temperatures make the meat tough. Cooking the hanging tenderloin only until rare leaves much of the cut's natural coarseness.
Serve the hanging tenderloin. Slice thinly and along the grain to minimize chewiness.
Do not skip the marinade step if using a dry heat cooking method. The meat will remain coarse and grainy.