Food & Drink | June 10, 2022 6:30 am

How to Make Thai-Inspired Hanger Steak Like Sway in Austin

Chef Charles Schlienger shares the recipe and his tips for getting it right

Sway’s “Tiger Cry” Hanger Steak
Sway’s “Tiger Cry” Hanger Steak

Outdoor cooking season is officially here, and all over the state, home cooks are firing up their grills and topping the grates with burgers, steaks and sausages. You have countless options for turning raw meat into a delicious dish, but it’s hard to imagine a better outcome than making this bright and spicy Thai-inspired hanger steak from Sway in Austin.

Sway is known for its modern Thai menu, communal dining tables and its rooftop bar with views of downtown. One favorite on that menu is the Tiger Cry, a grilled hanger steak served with fresh herbs and chili-spiked dipping sauces. 

“Crying Tiger Beef is a Northern Thai dish that is steeped in folklore with many origin stories claiming the title of original inspiration,” says Sway chef and partner Charles Schlienger. Some stories claim that the name comes from cuts of meat so tough they would make a tiger cry; others say the cuts of marbled meat looked like tiger stripes, which “wept” juices when grilled. All you need to know is that it tastes good.

“At Sway, we utilize hanger steak, aka the butcher’s steak, because it is an intensely flavorful cut that often gets overlooked.” For the best result, Schlienger says to marinate the steaks for at least three hours, but not overnight, otherwise the fresh herbs will lose their bright, intense flavors. “Also, season your steaks for 30 minutes prior to grilling; this will allow the salt to penetrate the steak and season it throughout.”

As for what to drink: don’t automatically look to red wine just because you’re eating steak. “I’m partial to an ice cold beer to tame down some of those intense spices,” says Schlienger.

Sway’s “Tiger Cry” Hanger Steak

Serves two


  • 1 cup avocado oil
  • 5 tablespoons ginger, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons shallots, diced
  • ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lemongrass, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup (packed) Thai basil, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons white peppercorn, ground
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, ground
  • 1 pinch chili flakes
  • 2 8-oz. hanger steaks


  1. Place all of the non-steak ingredients in a blender, and puree on high until smooth in consistency.
  2. Marinate the hanger steak and loosely cover with a paper towel or parchment paper; place in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
  3. After marinating, season the steak with kosher salt and rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  4. Grill over medium-high coals to personal preference.
  5. Rest the steak for two minutes and flip, then rest an additional two minutes.
  6. Once the steak has been cooked and rested, cut against the grain into five or six thin slices. Serve with your favorite spicy Thai chili dipping sauces and steamed sticky rice. For an added bonus, top the dish with Thai basil, cilantro and crispy shallots.