Packaging rabbit meat

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Olbunny

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This go round of processing friers we changed our packaging method. Instead of putting 1 compleate frier per package or 2 front legs with 2 rear legs n the saddle. The ribs n back are saved for stock. All belly flap meat, liver, heart, kidneys will go in a grind at the end of the year.
This time my beautiful wife suggested that we freeze up the same pieces together so they cook the same. Particularly so I don't overcook. So front legs together, saddles, rear legs.
I think this will work much better. We also put the meat in produce bags before placing it in the vacuum sealed bags. This will make reusing them easier to clean. And add another barrier against freezer burn. And bones poking holes in the vacuum bags.
And we would like to get some canned up. Maybe the culled older rabbits first. And we would probably try to add something into the jar before canned to inpart flavors. Garlic, onion, bay leaf maybe. This is the fun part. I'm also looking forward to doing the grind.
And making the stock. To store our stock frozen we have found that putting it in zip lock baggies. Strain it threw strainer n cheese cloth. A cup or two proportioned equally. Then place 6-7 baggies in a bread baking pan to freeze. They kinda stack up or sit in the door tray easily this way. A ready to use product.
So what say you folks who cook ? And what suggestions do you have?
Thanks folks n Merry Christmas
 

CanineWild

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Really like your bread pan idea! I think I'll be using that in the future!

I don't have rabbits quite yet (the shed with the hutches is finally all but ready now- just need the buns!), but I look forward to trying to can some. A pressure canner was on my Christmas list, so we'll see ;)
 

eco2pia

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I also sort by cut. I typically bone out loins, they make "skinless, boneless chicken breast" portions for fast cooking, they can be cut up partially frozen, or butterflied out and made into roulade. Then use hind legs for chicken leg quarter recipes, and fore legs for "hotwings", lol. All the remaining boney bits get boiled down and I store the meat cooked and shredded for stocks/soups/casseroles (enchiladas!), and generally I reduce the broth and freeze it concentrated, or use it in a week. The livers are eaten the day of harvest, because after all that work we deserve a treat, the girls in my family are sort of chronically low level anemic so we look forward to this especially.

I also briefly boil the offal for the chickens. I feel it is insurance against building up pathogens and parasites. Mostly that is intestines, lungs, stomach etc. Though my son wants to try flushing the intestines and making gut thread for projects.

The idea of grinding meat for sausage is intriguing. I figure you would need to add fat? hmm.
 

Olbunny

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I fillet off the backstrap n any meat on the outside of the ribs n neck when I take the front leg off. And wrap it around the top end of the leg. It adds a considerable amount of more meat to that portion.
We have yet to grind the belly flap meat and organs. I hadn't thought of adding fat so thanks. Probably pork fat. But I remember we have a 5 pound block of bacon bits left over from moose season. Hey all, would bacon bits ground with rabbit parts n pieces made a good sausage. We have lots of dried herbs from the garden to use up too. Probably do it in bulk grind or just loose. Instead of sausage links. Pretty delicate meat.
We're kinda spit balling here and I know there are great cooks around here. Any suggestions on how you would want your rabbit meat packaged?
I also processed a doe we needed to cull. Really good condition. Lots of fat inside the body around kidneys n such. And outside all along the body evenly. Pure white.
 

eco2pia

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I would go with pork fat, yes, bacon sounds great. I have also added bread crumbs and an egg to get a binding effect, just like you would with meatloaf, it helps patties and such hold together, but you end up needing to increase the seasonings (particularly salt) by whatever percent you add of filler. Mostly that was lean ground game of one sort or another, elk, venison, etc.

For italian spicy sausage you need fennel seed and red pepper flakes (among other things), for the "breakfast sausage" flavor you need sage, probably a little less than you think, and for pepperoini you need an unholy amount of paprika. Summer sausage is mostly flavored by the curing salt (and nitrates in it) and smoking in my experience, and with an addition of black pepper you can push it toward salami.

There are better recipes all over the internet, but one thing I found is that if you get a decent amount of binder you can make smoked sausages without casings, by making a log about 2 inches thick, drying a little in the fridge on a rack, and then smoking on a rack. The texture will not be quite as smooth as a tightly packed, cured and dried proper sausage, and it won't be perfectly round, but more than good enough for snacks, sandwiches, pizza, etc. We used to make a lot of things that way due to having a bit too much ground beef. Right now I miss those days, lol.
 

mfalconer

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I break up and sort packages by cuts and the quantity I like. Eg. 2 or 4 back legs in a pack or 4 or 6 front legs, etc. I always remove the shin bone (tibia/fibula) and knee cap before packing. Just my preference. Sometimes I will fully debone the back legs which allows for quicker prep and faster meals when needed. I also grind belly sides once I have enough. I have never really liked rabbit stock. We have heritage chickens and they make incredible stock so I feed raw rabbit bones and scraps to the dog. Livers and kidneys are eaten fresh but the dog will get some too if we have enough:). I love the idea of sausage but I guess I am just not that motivated to go the extra mile.
 

hotzcatz

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If the various parts are laid out on a cookie sheet and frozen, they can then be bagged up however you'd like and be in separate pieces and easy enough to just get however much you want without having to thaw the whole bag.
 

KelleyBee

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This go round of processing friers we changed our packaging method. Instead of putting 1 compleate frier per package or 2 front legs with 2 rear legs n the saddle. The ribs n back are saved for stock. All belly flap meat, liver, heart, kidneys will go in a grind at the end of the year.
This time my beautiful wife suggested that we freeze up the same pieces together so they cook the same. Particularly so I don't overcook. So front legs together, saddles, rear legs.
I think this will work much better. We also put the meat in produce bags before placing it in the vacuum sealed bags. This will make reusing them easier to clean. And add another barrier against freezer burn. And bones poking holes in the vacuum bags.
And we would like to get some canned up. Maybe the culled older rabbits first. And we would probably try to add something into the jar before canned to inpart flavors. Garlic, onion, bay leaf maybe. This is the fun part. I'm also looking forward to doing the grind.
And making the stock. To store our stock frozen we have found that putting it in zip lock baggies. Strain it threw strainer n cheese cloth. A cup or two proportioned equally. Then place 6-7 baggies in a bread baking pan to freeze. They kinda stack up or sit in the door tray easily this way. A ready to use product.
So what say you folks who cook ? And what suggestions do you have?
Thanks folks n Merry Christmas
Rather than freeze stock, I began canning it in 16 oz jars. Regarding bone punctures, just this week I watched a youtube video of a guy who butchers rabbits commercially, and he has a technique for the hind leg that prevents the sharp bone edges. . I haven’t tried it yet. Will be in about 3 weeks.
 

Olbunny

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We ladel the stock into zip lock baggies. A couple cups I believe. Then into a bread baking pan, 6 or so. Then frozen like that. Then they can come out of the can n stack nicely.
Jars is probably better. I would like to try canning rabbit meat in jars.
 

Zee-Man

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Really like your bread pan idea! I think I'll be using that in the future!

I don't have rabbits quite yet (the shed with the hutches is finally all but ready now- just need the buns!), but I look forward to trying to can some. A pressure canner was on my Christmas list, so we'll see ;)
I would suggest an All American canner for major canning sessions. It uses milled surfaces rather than a gasket so you don't have to worry about a seal going out of production. For smaller batches I recommend the Presto Precise. It also does not use a gasket. I find that I use the Presto often for more things than canning, pot roast in an hour!
 

Zee-Man

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Canning the meat sounds like a good idea. But I wonder, since it's so lean a meat, if freeze-dried might be best. Thoughts,
Lean is actually better for canning. When canning meat one has to be specially careful that not fat is on the rim of the jar. Wiping the rim before fitting the lid is an essential step since fat will inhibit a seal. That being said, if one wants flavor form fat then larding is a time tested method. Simply add a fat from another animal. Lard is fairly neutral in flavor (hence it is commonly used) but tallow (beef) with its stronger flavor might be to one's liking. Schmatlz is not so neutral but a light flavor. I don't cook lamb/mutton so I have not experimented in using that fat.
 

Zee-Man

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I haven't invested in a deep freezer. It seems like an awfull lot of electricity to spend for preservation. Add to that the idea that once in the freezer it is hard to manage rotation. I've wasted a lot of food for lack of convenience as well, food getting old because I passed it over since I would have to thaw it first. Sous vide has relieved some of that inconvenience wastage. All that leads to me having limited freezer space. I tend to only freeze what will be used on a regular basis. Anything else gets canned.
 

CanineWild

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I would suggest an All American canner for major canning sessions. It uses milled surfaces rather than a gasket so you don't have to worry about a seal going out of production. For smaller batches I recommend the Presto Precise. It also does not use a gasket. I find that I use the Presto often for more things than canning, pot roast in an hour!
I'd love to get an All American, but they're a little pricey for me currently. It wouldn't be so bad, except since I live in Canada (where it's weirdly difficult to find any reasonably priced pressure canner actually), so shipping is horrible. Even on a used one from eBay that looks good, shipping doubles the cost or more. If I find I wind up canning a great deal and really like it, I'd absolutely save up!

I had no idea the prestos had a gasket-less version! That's excellent, I'll definitely look for that! It's one of several reasons I'd prefer an All American if that was an option currently.
 

KelleyBee

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I haven't invested in a deep freezer. It seems like an awfull lot of electricity to spend for preservation. Add to that the idea that once in the freezer it is hard to manage rotation. I've wasted a lot of food for lack of convenience as well, food getting old because I passed it over since I would have to thaw it first. Sous vide has relieved some of that inconvenience wastage. All that leads to me having limited freezer space. I tend to only freeze what will be used on a regular basis. Anything else gets canned.
I used to have a large deep freezer. Last January I gave it to my son's family. I did so because I arrived at the exact same conclusions as did you. Additionally, I wanted to reduce my reliance upon electricity for long-term storage. No regrets to date. January will make 1 year since transitioning away from deep freezing.
 

Zee-Man

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I use my sous vide very often. I chose the Annova brand since it has wifi control as well as on unit. I got a mid size camping cooler (~10 Liters) and cut out a space in the lid for the Annova. The insulated box aids greatly in efficiency. I use it to quick thaw meats, 1 pound of chicken thighs is ready to use in about 30 minutes or less. I re-heat canned soups and stews, jar goes directly in. I cook many dishes in it as well, from steak to fricassee (well fricasee needs some pan time too). Next up is to make dashi in it. I like it mostly since with the precisely controlled heat, I can walk away and trust that my food won't be burnt when I forget to come back soon.
 
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