Zero Waste: Redefining Wagyu Scraps & Trimmings

Trade Tricks to Using Every Ounce of Miyazaki Beef

In recent years, there’s been some noticeable shifts in the restaurant industry with Wagyu being offered outside the high-end restaurants. Beyond the typical serving styles as steak, Shabu-Shabu, and grills, Wagyu is now appearing with Sushi, Tempura, and skewers. Further breaking from traditional Japanese cuisine, Wagyu can now be found on the course meals at a variety of international cuisines.

While Wagyu is gaining familiarity among chefs and diners alike as a most desirable ingredient, it’s still a luxury item, where food costs versus customer satisfaction in a business setting is a delicate balance. And that’s where restaurant managers and chefs can explore ways to maximize the yield on this expensive ingredient for a successful menu item.

Ribeye and strip loin which hold relatively good yield may reduce down to about 85% depending on how it’s prepared. As for short ribs, brisket, and chuck rib, muscle and fat make up a large portion, up to half. Since trimming them off at the processing plant would just add to the cost, these “unusable parts” are often shipped intact.

(Photo Credit: Nobuo at Teeter House)

The good news is that, with Wagyu, these scraps and trimmings can actually be transformed into a wonderful ingredient: THE WAGYU UMAMI BOMB. Highly rich in oleic acid, this fat holds a unique, tasty sweetness with a perfume of delicious aroma. Simply grinding the scraps and trimmings and incorporating them into other meats can greatly enhance a dish, whereupon skillfully mastering the use can generate a number of creative and delicious foods, as chef-owner Nobuo Fukuda does at his Nobuo at Teeter House restaurant in Phoenix.

Wagyu is not the star ingredient, however, they all radiate an abundance of meaty-Umami aroma and flavor for guests to enjoy. Incorporated into the brussels sprouts, Japanese radishes and quail eggs are Miyazaki beef fat drippings, enhancing the vegetable ingredients which surprisingly creates a flavor dimension not possible with meat alone. The trimmings, that are first used to season the radish and quail eggs, can then be incorporated to make a delicious beef bowl. Further, after extracting the liquified Umami fat, what remains in the pan can be turned into crunchy chicharron-like snacks. Nothing is discarded and every ounce of Miyazaki beef can be used. This is truly “Zero Waste” cooking.

By thinking outside the box, Wagyu scraps which are oftentimes discarded and deemed $$ loss can be creatively utilized to generate added income. Although actual sales with these dishes cannot be compared with the high rates an actual Wagyu steak brings in, there’s an opportunity for restaurants priding in serving Wagyu beef, to innovate unique signature dishes to amaze Wagyu fans.

Utilizing every part, every ounce of the Wagyu is perhaps the greatest reverence a chef can offer to a once-living animal and one to herald gratitude to all the hard-working growers and farmers involved in the Wagyu production chain. Zero waste extends beyond sustainability - it’s a most-important and long-continuing philosophy that’s deeply rooted in the Washoku philosophy, one which is relevant evermore today.