How to age rabbit in the fridge after butchering - dry or wet?

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BuffBrahmaBantam

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I am sure this has been asked before on this forum, but I can’t find the answer to our question easily. After butchering, do you put your rabbit in the fridge with or without some sort of damp covering? I’m asking because when we’ve done poultry, I feel sometimes the meat dries out too much unless it is covered with a damp cloth, and rabbit without fat is supposed to be susceptible to drying down. We need help from experienced folks. Do I just put the rabbit on a baking sheet and let it sit in the fridge, or should I cover it with a damp cloth?

I am not sure if this makes a difference, but just so you know, we live in a pretty dry climate.
 

ladysown

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I do one of two things... put it in a freezer bag (after washing it down so it's still wet) and put it on a plate in the fridge in the sealed bag. OR (with an older rabbit) in a plastic tupperware container in a salt-water solution.
 

BuffBrahmaBantam

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That is helpful. Thanks.

For the older rabbits, what is the purpose of the salt? Can you use unsalted water? Is the rabbit fully submerged, or partially?
 
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I have had the opportunity to converse with small butcher chops. They only hang goats and sheep for three days to cure. Most don't do rabbits, but the consensus is after removal of skin and guts rinse with real hot water to kill as many bacteria as possible. Place in plastic bag and set in cold room no more than 40 degrees f. If you wish, you can brine them, use a marinade, or leave plain. The French cure their plain chicken and rabbit for a week. I don't recommend that. It has started to turn bad in my opinion by then. Three to five days is good. To brine: mix salt and sugar and any other spices or preservatives you like into fresh clean boiled water. It is easier to dissolve the brine mixture in hot or warm water. Make sure water is cold before putting the meat in the brine solution. (again to make sure there are no bacteria in the water.) Brining gives the meat more flavor, tenderizes, and cures the meat. Let the meat set in the brine solution in a large pot for no more than 2 days. Commercial processors inject the brine solution into the meat to make process faster. If you are using a marinade again only for 2 days max. Place meat on a drain mesh over the sink or another pot to drain. After the water stops running out of the meat place in freezer bag and freeze. Throw the brine or marinade solution out. Make sure your freezer is 0 degrees or below to insure safe freezing. Remember Before the invention of refrigerators and antibiotics the number one cause of death was from bad food. If you think it is bad throw it out don't eat it. Good luck.
 

Skai

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I am sure this has been asked before on this forum, but I can’t find the answer to our question easily. After butchering, do you put your rabbit in the fridge with or without some sort of damp covering? I’m asking because when we’ve done poultry, I feel sometimes the meat dries out too much unless it is covered with a damp cloth, and rabbit without fat is supposed to be susceptible to drying down. We need help from experienced folks. Do I just put the rabbit on a baking sheet and let it sit in the fridge, or should I cover it with a damp cloth?

I am not sure if this makes a difference, but just so you know, we live in a pretty dry climate.
A lot of good information here: rigor questions
 

Scooter1A

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I will be butchering 12 week olds this coming week. First time for me. I won't rebreed until early spring simply to give myself a break and add some things to my grow out hutch. I only have five to do. The above info helped. I won't be brining but I may smoke, cook and then freeze a couple to try that.
 

BuffBrahmaBantam

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To update, we ended up waiting a week to age and I checked them daily for stiffness. They were aged in a covered baking pan in the fridge. Both rabbits were still quite stiff after a week in the fridge. These were old rabbits, one buck and one doe, and maybe that made a difference, plus our fridge is cold and I read that if you cool the rabbits quickly (which we did, in ice water) and keep them at a relatively cold fridge temp, rigor passes more slowly. I didn’t want to wait more than a week, however. I was worried about the meat going bad. After a week, the rabbits were still pretty stiff but there was no odor indicating a problem so my husband cut, bagged and froze them. Both rabbits were good to eat in the slow cooker - very good.

We butchered a batch of grow outs two days ago. It will be interesting to see if they pass through rigor more quickly, with all other variables kept the same.
 

Skai

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I am sure this has been asked before on this forum, but I can’t find the answer to our question easily. After butchering, do you put your rabbit in the fridge with or without some sort of damp covering? I’m asking because when we’ve done poultry, I feel sometimes the meat dries out too much unless it is covered with a damp cloth, and rabbit without fat is supposed to be susceptible to drying down. We need help from experienced folks. Do I just put the rabbit on a baking sheet and let it sit in the fridge, or should I cover it with a damp cloth?

I am not sure if this makes a difference, but just so you know, we live in a pretty dry climate.
Lot of different opinions here but I age in the fridge, on a baking sheet, uncovered until rigor passes and the meat is dry. Meat that is bagged and frozen while wet is more likely to get freezer burn. The drier the better in my opinion. I've never had a problem with it being too dry. Brining for too long is more likely to cause meat to dry out because salt extracts moisture. Think what salt does to cabbage when you're making sauerkraut.
 

BuffBrahmaBantam

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Lot of different opinions here but I age in the fridge, on a baking sheet, uncovered until rigor passes and the meat is dry. Meat that is bagged and frozen while wet is more likely to get freezer burn. The drier the better in my opinion. I've never had a problem with it being too dry. Brining for too long is more likely to cause meat to dry out because salt extracts moisture. Think what salt does to cabbage when you're making sauerkraut.
That makes sense about the brining. I’ve never tried it, but mostly because I’m too busy and brining takes more time. Thanks for sharing.

I plan to stay with my current method of NOT brining, and aging on a covered cookie sheet.
 

jaxmarblebuns

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I don’t fridge mine at all. I use a two bucket method when butchering.

Right after they are dressed they go into a bucket of ice water, once the next one is ready to be put in the ice water the first one movers from that bucket into another on. I do that for a second rinse, to free up room in the first bucket, and to keep them on ice longer (the body heat melts the ice decently quick in the first bucket.)

After I’m done butcher, or when the second bucket is full, they come inside, get a through rinse, go in a seal-a-meal bag, and get put in the freezer. It’s how we’ve been doing it sense the start and we’ve never had a problem with it.

(I have a third bucket that the pelts go into as well, they get rinsed and salted after we are done.)
 

BuffBrahmaBantam

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I don’t fridge mine at all. I use a two bucket method when butchering.

Right after they are dressed they go into a bucket of ice water, once the next one is ready to be put in the ice water the first one movers from that bucket into another on. I do that for a second rinse, to free up room in the first bucket, and to keep them on ice longer (the body heat melts the ice decently quick in the first bucket.)

After I’m done butcher, or when the second bucket is full, they come inside, get a through rinse, go in a seal-a-meal bag, and get put in the freezer. It’s how we’ve been doing it sense the start and we’ve never had a problem with it.

(I have a third bucket that the pelts go into as well, they get rinsed and salted after we are done.)
Is the meat tender with this method?
 

BuffBrahmaBantam

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Good to know! Thanks. We will try this on our next batch of fryers and see if there is a tenderness difference. Aging is a bit of a pain because we have limited fridge space and process litters in one or two days.
 
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