Cooking Rabbit: Recipes and Tips

Broaden your food horizons with rabbit meat from a healthy, domestic rabbit.
By Karen Keb
2012 Guide to Backyard Rabbits
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Try cooking with rabbit meat. It's low on calories, high on protein and delicious.
Karen Keb


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Despite what critics say, domestic rabbit meat does not taste gamey or wild. In fact, it’s delicate and pearly white, with very little fat to speak of. When compared to chicken, rabbit meat is chewier, with a finer grain, so just a little fills you up.

TRY THESE RABBIT RECIPES:
Braised Rabbit Recipe With Cannellini and Tarragon
Roasted Rabbit Recipe With Apples and Leeks
Pasta With Rabbit Sausage Recipe
Rabbit Pot Pie Recipe
 

It’s lower in calories and has more protein than any of the standard-fare meats (795 calories per pound for rabbit, versus 810 for chicken, 1,190 for turkey, 1,440 for beef, and 2,050 for pork). At just more than 10 percent fat (compared to 11 percent for chicken, 22 percent for turkey, 28 percent for beef, and 45 percent for pork), rabbit can be cooked similarly to chicken, but it benefits from added fat — such as olive oil or bacon — to keep the meat moist. Like other lean meats, rabbit cooks to irresistible tenderness when prepared “low and slow,” i.e. slowly over low heat, as in braising. 

Cooked rabbit is extremely popular in Canadian, French and other European cuisines because of the animal’s small size. It’s a common backyard meat source, like chicken, and it’s easy to trap wild.

How to find rabbit meat

Domestic rabbit will always be best when sourced locally from a sustainable and humane farm. Use Local Harvest to find rabbit meat for sale in your area. If you find that no one locally is raising it, look in the freezer section of your supermarket. A national brand — Pel-Freez — sells fryer-broilers; I also found a plain-wrap version in my local market. The cost was around $15 for a whole, frozen rabbit.  

Prepare rabbit meat for cooking

If you obtained a frozen rabbit, defrost it overnight in the refrigerator (a whole rabbit will take 12 to 16 hours; pieces will take 4 to 9 hours). If you don’t have that kind of time, place the frozen rabbit in a plastic bag and immerse it in cold water. Rinse it under cold water and pat dry.

Familiarize yourself with how to cut up the carcass; the usual cutting pattern involves the two hind legs, the two front legs, the shoulders, and the saddle, split in two. Sharp kitchen shears or a meat cleaver work perfectly for the job. Once you have the rabbit cut into sections, you’re ready to start cooking.








Post a comment below.

 

Nancy
1/23/2013 4:45:26 PM
Hi Anna, I am looking for a rabbit sausage recipe. I just read your comment and havent taken the time to do internet research... if you have one, I sure would appreciate a copy, if not, I understand. Thank you,

Anna Seals
12/30/2012 4:31:23 PM
One of the most delicious ways to cook a rabbit is to smoke it. I like to use a doe about 4-6 months old. Light flavored smoked rabbit meat is a real taste treat. I crave it. Also like to take old bucks and does, that are no longer productive breeders, and grind the meat to make sausage.

Kim Buterbaugh
12/28/2012 8:04:52 PM
Rabbit is also easy to can, and can then be used for soups, stews, barbeque, etc, quickly and easily. The canning process makes it tender and juicy. We raise American Chinchilla rabbits and several varieties of angoras on our homestead, and they provide healthy, delicious meat and soft, warm wool for spinning. They are also nice animals to work with on a daily basis, and take little time to care for. I highly recommend rabbits as a homestead meat source. www.hippityhoprabbitry.weebly.com








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