Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Cooked a Rabbit!

New Zealand White Rabbit, photo courtesy of laugh45

For a couple of years I have considered raising meat chickens, ducks, or rabbits for a protein food supply. I don't have enough flatish land for larger livestock like a cow or a pig. Rabbits, of course, require the smallest amount of space so they are high on the list.

However, I hadn't any recollection of ever eating rabbit, although I'm fairly sure I must have when I was a young kid. Finding a domestic rabbit and cooking it to check the list became important, and finally I found frozen rabbit about 3 weeks ago in a grocery store in a nearby town.

This was a VERY small rabbit, just a tad under 1.5 pounds, whereas an average young fryer dresses out at 3 pounds or more. Still, I thought it would be enough meat to give it a try, and not much wasted expense in the event I didn't like the taste.

Top of the photo are the belly pieces and the rib cage, which went into the freezer for stock later. Lower on the photo are the skinny forelegs, fatter back legs, and the backbone cut into 2 pieces.

First, I needed to cut up the rabbit, and found several photo tutorials online. There is very little meat anywhere but the hind legs, although I cooked the backbone section and the front legs as well. I'm sure a larger sized rabbit would have more meat on the backbone and front quarters. The "belly" was very thin, and it went into a freezer bag with the rib cage to make stock when I have enough bones, using a mix of rabbit and chicken.

I'm told rabbit fat is as un-palatable as venison fat, so it got trimmed away. (There wasn't much of it anyway.) Most of the outer silverskin had already been trimmed before it was frozen, but after my disjointing there was still a little more to trim.

It actually does taste a lot like chicken, although I thought it had a bit more flavor than commercial chicken. I fried it without any seasoning except salt and pepper so that any added herbs or spices wouldn't mask the rabbit flavor. I just dipped it in milk and rolled it in flour with a little salt and pepper.

My neighbor / friend Buster used to raise meat rabbits and I'm sure he will offer advice and help when I'm ready. If I decide to try raising rabbits, it will only be on a small scale. Timing depends on my health over the next few months, and whether I can stomach the butchering process. (I think I can, but I have to do it to be sure.)


  1. Very cool. My neighbour gave me his breeding stock last year (two does and a buck), and I processed my first litter recently.

    My wife was sure she wasn't going to like it, but ended up loving it. She also thought it was like chicken, but just a little tastier. Certainly not gamey like wild rabbit I've had in the past.

    So, passing the wife test, I'm now expanding my breeding stock and ramping up production.

    The benefit of rabbit to me is being able to process it yourself (not requiring an abattoir or butcher), and not needing to store huge quantities of meat (a side of beef, or a whole pig, is huge!). Plus they fly under the radar of most government interference, and you can feed them largely on stuff you can grow in your own yard.

    I found the processing pretty straightforward. It's easier, faster and less gross than butchering chickens, as long as you can get past the "cute and fluffy" thing.

  2. I've never considered rabbit. If you butcher your own, how does that compare to processing a chicken? Do you remove the pelt in-tact?

    You've got me thinking....

    1. I think the pelt comes off intact... and what I've read suggests it's as easy, or easier, that doing a chicken.


I'd love to hear what you think about my posts! We all learn together.