courtesy of Stephanie Mullins

“Blackened” Hanger Steak

This dish can stand on its own and makes a great Sunday brunch item. If you like a little more Southwest feel, use a poblano chile in place of some or all of the bell pepper.

“Blackened” Hanger Steak  

Excerpted from Smokin’ Hot in the South: New Grilling Recipes from the Winningest Woman in Barbecue by Melissa Cookston. Andrews McMeel Publishing  

If you can’t find hanger steak, you can substitute flank steak as they are similar, but generally hanger steak is more tender. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods, but sometimes they need a contrast, so I season the hanger steak heavily and then grill at high temps to give it a blackened effect. The spiciness of the steak works well against the sweetness of the hash, and the egg ties it all together. Hanger steak, like flank or skirt steak, benefits from a medium-rare to medium temperature. —Melissa Cookston  

Serves: 4  

2 8-ounce trimmed hanger steaks
3–4 tablespoons Blackening Seasoning (recipe follows)
Sweet Potato Hash and Fried Egg (recipe follows)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish  

If your steak is not pre-trimmed, remove any silver skin and excess fat from each steak. Then cut in half along the middle sinew and trim each steak. Season the steaks heavily and place in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 4 to 6 hours.  

Before grilling, remove from the fridge and leave out ?for at least 30 minutes to dry and come to room temperature. Prepare a grill to cook on high or very hot if using a charcoal grill. For this recipe, my preference is definitely using lump charcoal, as it will burn hotter and still impart a smoke flavor. Oil the grill grates and place the steaks on the grill. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then roll one quarter of the way over and repeat for all four sides. Remove from the grill when an instant-read thermometer reads 130°F to 135°F in the thickest part of the steak, depending on your temperature preference. Cover lightly with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. The temperature of the steak will increase 3°F to 5°F while resting.  

To plate, place a 5-inch burger ring in the middle of a plate. Fill with the hash, then lightly press to form in the ring (without breaking up the potatoes if possible). Remove the ring, then top the hash with the fried egg seasoned to taste with salt and pepper. Slice the hanger steak against the grain into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-wide strips and shingle pieces around the hash. Garnish with the cilantro sprigs and serve.  

Blackening Seasoning
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dark chili powder
Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir by hand until well incorporated. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.   

Sweet Potato Hash and Fried Egg

Serves: 4 

6 slices bacon, cut into pieces
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes, parboiled and thoroughly drained
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup roughly chopped yellow onion
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into slivers
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces fresh spinach
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
4 large eggs, cooked sunny side up 

Cook the bacon in a large, nonstick skillet until crispy, then use tongs to remove the bacon, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. 

Turn the heat to medium and cook the potatoes for 5 to 6 minutes, then raise the heat to medium-high and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned. Keeping the stove on medium-high heat, add the butter to the skillet and cook the onion and bell pepper until softened and browned, 5 or 6 minutes. Add the garlic, cooked bacon, salt, pepper and spinach, and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the thyme and stir carefully to incorporate. Remove the pan from the heat and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Right before plating, fry eggs sunny-side up and serve warm, shingled over sweet potato hash. 

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