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First time eating rabbit: What factors made it SO amazing?

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First time eating rabbit: What factors made it SO amazing?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby MidwestMatthew » Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:48 am


We just butchered our first litter Saturday. Soaked the carcasses in a cooler of ice water for ~24 hours like we'd heard, then a ~12-hour soak in brine. Cooked the first one up whole, with a bit of rosemary and butter for dinner last night, and, well, wow.

That. Was. Amazing.

I was really expecting to have to "learn to like" rabbit. Instead, I can't think when I've enjoyed a meal more. It was simply fabulous, like the most amazing baked chicken you can imagine, but just enough of a different flavor to be distinct. Extremely moist and tender, and very mild and sweet. Simply unbelievable. My wife, who has had some mental reservations about eating rabbit, actually brought the "finished" skeleton to the table so we could pick off every little bit of meat!

So, anyway, we're wondering how much of a difference the soaking and brining may have made in terms of flavor. I know the obvious answer is to try it both ways, but after the results of last night, I guess I'm after other opinions before "wasting" a rabbit on a test!

Also, the one we ate was the runt of the litter - only a trifle over 3 pounds live weight, whereas the others were all over 5 with a few approaching 6 pounds. I know younger rabbits are said to be more tender and milder-tasting, but this one was the same age as the others - just much smaller. Any idea on if that made a difference?

There was a time I thought we'd have to stretch ourselves to eat one rabbit per week. But after last night, I'd almost be willing to eat myself into rabbit starvation! :lol: Better get our buck busy with those does!

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Re: First time eating rabbit: What factors made it SO amazin

Post Number:#2  Unread postby shazza » Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:36 am


i think for me it was about 50% the taste and 50% the fact that i was enamoured with finally having grown food that i knew was treated well and had a life before it died.

i actually HATE chicken - it's so dry and bland, so when people told me rabbit was like chicken i truly expected to have to make myself eat it - and i would, because i'd rather it over commercially produced meat. but i was so happy i liked it. it's like sweeter, more flavourful dark meat chicken. finally, something other than seafood and beef that i'm willing to eat. my rabbits haven't been breeding well (i have two litters due next week and these will be my first all year...well, i had one but they were all DOA sigh..) so we only had ones we were given/bought + one breeding doe that got stasis so i put her down, and we gobbled them up too fast and now i'm dying, haha. i hope both of my girls kindle, but i will be so impatient waiting for them to get big enough
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Re: First time eating rabbit: What factors made it SO amazin

Post Number:#3  Unread postby sunrise » Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:45 am


I'm also curious about the 24 hour cold water soak and then 12 hour brine. I had read to leave them in the fridge till rigor passed away. Maybe this is better? How old were your rabbits when you butchered them?

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Re: First time eating rabbit: What factors made it SO amazin

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Zass » Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:18 pm


I find most people can eat rabbit easily. Kids usually like it right away.

Age makes a bigger difference than size when it comes to toughness so your runt should be about the same as the rest, if anything, the faster growing kits may be more tender.

There is virtually no chance of the modern world providing a scenario where people have absolutely nothing to eat except water and rabbit (without cooking oil or butter) for extended periods of time, so rabbit starvation is really impossible. ;)

I've actually eaten a diet of mainly rabbit and lean venison as my only meat for a few years now, which is totally fine, as I also eat fruits, vegetables, oils and starches to properly balance the protein.

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Re: First time eating rabbit: What factors made it SO amazin

Post Number:#5  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:49 pm


It amazes me that death/starvation/malnutrition is listed for a con/warning for rabbit meat. I know if that's the ONLY thing you eat, yes, but who is going to do that nowadays?
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Re: First time eating rabbit: What factors made it SO amazin

Post Number:#6  Unread postby shazza » Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:02 pm


Is that seriously a thing?? I've never seen that, haha. You could die of malnutrition if you only ate any kind of meat, why would they put a warning specifically on rabbit? lol
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Re: First time eating rabbit: What factors made it SO amazin

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Nymphadora » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:50 am


The idea is that rabbit meat is so low in fat that (if you were only eating rabbit) your body wouldn't have enough fat to thrive. There certainly is a healthy amount of fat that you want in your diet, but it can be reached by supplementing your diet with a variety of things, not just meat. I believe animal fat is somewhat unique (hence a lot of rabbit sausage recipes contain pork fat), but really if you decided to cut way down on beef and pork to eat more rabbit, it shouldn't be a problem in today's day and age.

Personally I'm also a fan of rabbit because it is incredibly low in cholesterol, which tends to run high in my family. :lol:

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Re: First time eating rabbit: What factors made it SO amazin

Post Number:#8  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:59 am


Seriously, I have had more than one person "warn" me about rabbit meat. How it's unhealthy because it's low in nutrients... how people have died from eating too much of it... etc. I try to tell them that it's a healthy, low fat meat, that it's only when it's the majority of your diet that you can run into issues.

I am still figuring out a favorite way to cook it. The last few times I have just boiled it in seasoned water (salt, pepper, veggies, herbs) then pulled the meat off of the bone to use in other things like soup, nachos, sandwiches, rabbit salad, etc. I keep forgetting to try soaking in a brine! The one I roasted was pretty tough, but it was the first one so I am sure I did something wrong :roll: . I have been a been hesitant to try it again though. I am trying to make a point to use it more. We have 1/4 of a cow in the freezer so that has been my main meat source... I just got out of the habit of fixing "chicken" dishes over the years - between the supply of beef (family farm down the road) and the fact that we are surrounded by commercial chicken houses (Oh, the smell! :sick: And seeing the trucks going down the road with awful looking chickens in them... some of them already dead :cry: ) I just don't have any desire to buy it from the store anymore.
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Re: First time eating rabbit: What factors made it SO amazin

Post Number:#9  Unread postby SoDak Thriver » Thu Sep 22, 2016 10:14 am


I've been warned about rabbit starvation as well. You know, if you're stranded on an island in a system of scarcity, the rabbit meat will be less healthy because there's less for everyone, including the rabbits, to eat. My Callies have plenty of fat on them.

My first time cooking rabbit was in a root-vegetable soup where everything except the water, salt, pepper, and bay leaves came from our own garden and backyard meat rabbits. That was the most amazing part for me. The great taste was icing on that cake.
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Re: First time eating rabbit: What factors made it SO amazin

Post Number:#10  Unread postby MidwestMatthew » Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:46 am


sunrise wrote:I'm also curious about the 24 hour cold water soak and then 12 hour brine. I had read to leave them in the fridge till rigor passed away. Maybe this is better? How old were your rabbits when you butchered them?

The rabbits were exactly 12 weeks old. (I wanted to do it at 10, but a couple of them weren't as large as I wanted until a week later...then "life happened" for a week after that.)

We decapitated, skinned, and cleaned the rabbits, then put them, still whole, in a cooler of water with enough ice to lower the temperature to 32 (probably nothing magic about the exact temperature). I left them in there for about 24 hours, maybe a bit more. The water seemed to draw out some blood but it didn't get seriously murky. After 24 hours, I quartered all but two of the rabbits (they were very stiff when they came out, but loosened up quickly as they warmed slightly). Then we put them all in the refrigerator for another 12 hours in a brine solution of 1/2 tablespoon of salt per cup of water, thoroughly dissolved.

The final step was to rinse them off, after which we saved one to cook that night, and bagged the rest for the freezer. The one we cooked was one of the whole ones, but I assume they cook up about the same whether they're whole or not.

The meat was so juicy and sweet, I couldn't believe it. I've improved venison and cheap grocery store chicken with brines before, but it's never turned out meat like this rabbit. Totally incredible.

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Re: First time eating rabbit: What factors made it SO amazin

Post Number:#11  Unread postby AnnClaire » Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:45 pm


I've been thinking about "rabbit starvation" and, yes it was a thing when folks were relying mostly on wild rabbit.

Let's look at that, a wild rabbit, in the winter especially, is a pretty lean animal, especially when compared to our modern well-fed rabbits.

In fact, with older rabbits, limiting the fat is an ongoing issue in my rabbitry :lol:

As for a 24 hour soak in ice water, I find that can be accomplished with bagging and resting in the fridge for 5-7 days before freezing, then brining after thawing. It just depends on where I have the room at the time :P
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Re: First time eating rabbit: What factors made it SO amazin

Post Number:#12  Unread postby bigfoot_158 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 9:27 am


I dont know if this the test your looking for but here it goes. The first one i cooked I wanted no season or anything that would alter the taste. So I fried in oil with no breading or brine didnt even wait the 24 hours. The entire family love it.
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Re: First time eating rabbit: What factors made it SO amazin

Post Number:#13  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:11 pm


the cold water soak dilutes the "rabbit flavor" the brine makes it tender, [and dilutes the flavor just a little] - I like to just brine young rabbits for 2 to 24 hours, - and brine older culled breed stock, for 2 to 7 days [in the fridge] -- after 7 days they are about as tender as a fryer...
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Re: First time eating rabbit: What factors made it SO amazin

Post Number:#14  Unread postby Stephanie » Tue Dec 27, 2016 7:17 pm


I've never soaked or brined any of mine. When I slaughter, I keep a large pot of cold water nearby to put the parts into as I process. When I'm done slaughtering, I rinse the parts 2 or 3 times. Then, I lay the parts out on cookie sheets and put in the deep freeze till they can be bagged up together without freezing together. Any soaking I have ever done was in buttermilk overnight before frying.

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Re: First time eating rabbit: What factors made it SO amazin

Post Number:#15  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:29 am


I like to marinate my fryers in a greek style marinade.
Honey
Rosemary
Garlic
Paprika
lemon juice

soak parted rabbit 2-12 hours.
Grill on a medium (300 degrees) bbq
legs first for 10 minutes, then the loin for another 15 minutes.
Loin should be medium well when it comes off the BBQ.
Tent with foil (or cover with a lid) for another 10 minutes.

Big hit with my family!
Some of the family didn't think they would like rabbit, but don't seem to have any issues eating it now!

Also, older rabbits get the slow cooker, till it is fall off the bone
Then the broth and meat is turned into stew/soup.
Did this last night with a crew of 8 (one large old doe) and although everything didn't thicken the way I wanted, the stew/soup was very flavourful and there were a lot of seconds.
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