|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.)