Meat Taste and Tenderness?

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Rabbits by Accident

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I have no idea, but since nobody else has answered you, I'll just say that goat milk tastes different from different breeds of goats (Nigerian Dwarf is fantastic) ... so whether that translates to rabbit meat, I have no idea LOL but I wanted someone to answer you :)
 

MaggieJ

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I'm new here, do different breeds of rabbits have any better or worse tasting or tenderness of meat? Or is it like "rabbit meat is rabbit meat", it's more about the receipt?
In my experience, the rabbit's diet has more to do with the flavour of the meat than the breed. I initially raised rabbits on pellets with some weeds etc. The meat was good. But when I transitioned the rabbits to a pelletless diet, the flavour of the meat pleased me much more. The rabbits also had less fat, which was a plus because most of the fat was wasted.

The age of the rabbit affects both flavour and tenderness. Fryers (12 weeks and under) are tender and mild. Even bland. Think veal, not beef.

The flavour of older rabbits has in a more robust flavour, and the meat is tender enough (think pork tenderloin) but it is not fork-tender like a fryer.

Personally, I prefer a roaster up to about six months. Older than that they still make a wonderful stew, soup or meat pie.

~ Maggie
 

YOHONOMOTO

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In my experience, the rabbit's diet has more to do with the flavour of the meat than the breed. I initially raised rabbits on pellets with some weeds etc. The meat was good. But when I transitioned the rabbits to a pelletless diet, the flavour of the meat pleased me much more. The rabbits also had less fat, which was a plus because most of the fat was wasted.

The age of the rabbit affects both flavour and tenderness. Fryers (12 weeks and under) are tender and mild. Even bland. Think veal, not beef.

The flavour of older rabbits has in a more robust flavour, and the meat is tender enough (think pork tenderloin) but it is not fork-tender like a fryer.

Personally, I prefer a roaster up to about six months. Older than that they still make a wonderful stew, soup or meat pie.

~ Maggie
What do you feed your rabbits now that you stopped feeding pellets? I have been feeding mine hay, occasional fresh grass, occasional oregano and thyme from my garden, and less occasional lettuce from the store. But I wonder if that’s enough.
 

MaggieJ

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I have mobility issues, so no longer have rabbits. But when I transitioned them off pellets, I fed alfalfa/grass mixed hay, lots of fresh weeds, tree trimmings etc. They always seemed hungry, so I started feeling them a small portion of whole grain as well. Less than 1/4 cup daily per mature rabbit --more and they had too much internal fat when butchered. Wheat, oats, and barley are all good grains. I don't recommend corn. They did very well on this. Grow out to butchering size was about 14 weeks, but it was worth the extra couple of weeks.

On pellets, my table-ready meat cost about $1.50 a pound. On natural feed, the cost dropped to $0.75 per pound. Those prices included the feed costs for maintaining the breeders as well as growing out the youngsters. These figures are from about ten years ago, so I suspect the natural feeding would have risen less than the pellet feeding.

It's not for everyone. I had a small backyard rabbitry just for our own use. We also have acreage to harvest from. I think this would be hard to do with only a small backyard.
 

Rabbits by Accident

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In my experience, the rabbit's diet has more to do with the flavour of the meat than the breed. I initially raised rabbits on pellets with some weeds etc. The meat was good. But when I transitioned the rabbits to a pelletless diet, the flavour of the meat pleased me much more. The rabbits also had less fat, which was a plus because most of the fat was wasted.

The age of the rabbit affects both flavour and tenderness. Fryers (12 weeks and under) are tender and mild. Even bland. Think veal, not beef.

The flavour of older rabbits has in a more robust flavour, and the meat is tender enough (think pork tenderloin) but it is not fork-tender like a fryer.

Personally, I prefer a roaster up to about six months. Older than that they still make a wonderful stew, soup or meat pie.

~ Maggie
Thanks @MaggieJ That was very helpful information! I am new to eating rabbits, and actually most of mine get sold, so we've only eaten 2. I was under the impression that it was imperative to butcher before 3 months or they wouldn't be good. Glad to know this is not really so. Thank you for all that info!
 

MaggieJ

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Thanks @MaggieJ That was very helpful information! I am new to eating rabbits, and actually most of mine get sold, so we've only eaten 2. I was under the impression that it was imperative to butcher before 3 months or they wouldn't be good. Glad to know this is not really so. Thank you for all that info!
It's a good idea to sample the meat from rabbits of different ages. Tastes vary and you will soon decide which you prefer. But even rabbits several years old can give you a tasty and nutritious meal. Seasoning has a lot to do with the final result. Apples or apple juice are great in rabbit recipes. Your favourite fresh herbs too. Check out the Rabbit Recipes forum.

One of my most successful original recipes is there. It would work well with meat from any age of rabbit.
 

eco2pia

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I have had a few different breeds and agree that the feed and age makes a difference, and breed seems less important, but unlike MaggieJ I actually like a reasonable amount of fat. I render it and then fry in it, so for me it is not a waste. However it is more work than just using oil or some other fat. Feeding pellets, hay, and weeds/garden waste suits my lifestyle, which includes 40-50hour weeks outside the home. I have had periods where I could feed more fresh stuff, but it is lifestyle dependant.
 
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