Rabbit Meat

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jmal71

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So, eating rabbit isn't new to me, but raising them and processing them ourselves is relatively new. Have always had pets rabbits. Anyway, our first weaners are ready to harvest we processed them and had them a few ways now. One grilled outside over a low fire, greased metal tray and spices on rabbit, with salt, and now in the oven, low heat basically the same way. The meat has been rather chewy, what am I doing wrong. Previously when cooking rabbit I usually boiled them and took the meat off to make meat pies or cooked in a soup/stew. Is rabbit able to be cooked like chicken or do I need to use a more "wet" style of cooking? Parboiled first and then baked? What am I doing wrong. these are young rabbits. Trying to get my husband to like rabbit, this isn't helping.
 

MaggieJ

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Mama583 raises a valid point. You need to either cook them before rigor mortis sets in, which gives you only a small window of time, or you need to refrigerate them until the rigor passes -- a couple of days should do it.

Rabbit is a very lean meat without marbling, so basting it while cooking or wrapping it with bacon if you are roasting it can help.

You can certainly boil it to tenderness, but if you are looking for a richer flavour (I find boiled meat a bit bland unless well seasoned) then I suggest searing the meat in a frying pan until browned, adding only a small quantity of liquid, popping a lid on it, and then turning down the heat to a simmer until tender. Apple juice is excellent as a liquid and it blends nicely with just about any herbs or seasonings.

I've cooked rabbit this way many times and never been disappointed. Seasonings I've used include rosemary, sage, bay leaf, allspice, black pepper, bacon or bacon fat, and apple or apple juice. Not all at once, of course.

There are many good recipes in the Rabbit Recipes forum, including my rave-review rabbit pie.
 

jmal71

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Mama583 raises a valid point. You need to either cook them before rigor mortis sets in, which gives you only a small window of time, or you need to refrigerate them until the rigor passes -- a couple of days should do it.

Rabbit is a very lean meat without marbling, so basting it while cooking or wrapping it with bacon if you are roasting it can help.

You can certainly boil it to tenderness, but if you are looking for a richer flavour (I find boiled meat a bit bland unless well seasoned) then I suggest searing the meat in a frying pan until browned, adding only a small quantity of liquid, popping a lid on it, and then turning down the heat to a simmer until tender. Apple juice is excellent as a liquid and it blends nicely with just about any herbs or seasonings.

I've cooked rabbit this way many times and never been disappointed. Seasonings I've used include rosemary, sage, bay leaf, allspice, black pepper, bacon or bacon fat, and apple or apple juice. Not all at once, of course.

There are many good recipes in the Rabbit Recipes forum, including my rave-review rabbit pie.
Yes I wasn't sure whether to post in that section or not, but I will go and look, thanks, I am pretty new to here.
 

KelleyBee

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Yes I wasn't sure whether to post in that section or not, but I will go and look, thanks, I am pretty new to here.
I have found rabbit responds best to any slow cooked method you might employ. Slow roasted at a low temp (225F) in the oven 2-4 hours depending upon bones, no bones, stuffed, rolled, etc.; slow cooked on a smoker grill at 160-180F for 2-3 hours while basting with butter and apple cider vinegar before and during grilling; in an actual slow cooker crock pot with many different combinations found in recipes (Lots of recipes on the internet). Cooking rabbit well takes time and that time, I have found, takes planning. so, I have found I must be more organized and intentional when I want to prepare rabbit and that usually means I am deciding what recipe I’m going to use the day before.

The only way around this is using deboned, ground rabbit, which you can pretty much decide how to prep within an hour of mealtime. There are several ways to achieve deboned, ground rabbit. Thus far, I’ve employed 2 methods:

Since I mostly cook for just myself and hubby (who was also rabbit meat resistant when this all started but now happily eats every time I make it). An entire rabbit, at our ages of 60, is a bit too much for us as one meal. Thus, anytime I prepare a recipe that calls for a whole rabbit cut up into its serving parts (hind quarters, fore quarters, loins), I always set aside the loins and while the leg and arm quarters are cooking, I debone the loin meat, and freeze it. Once I have about 3-4 pounds or so of frozen loin meat (I keep one bag in the freezer where I always add the deboned loin meat until I have accumulated enough to make geting out the grinder worthwhile) I get the bag out, slowly thaw in fridge, then grind into ground meat, separate into 1 pound portions, place each one pound portion into it’s own smaller freezer bag, hand press flat for quick refreeze and thawing, and then just pull from freezer the morning of the day I plan to use it to make: stuffed peppers, meatloaf, stroganoff, burgers, meatballs, etc etc etc any recipe that calls for ground meat, regardless of the type of meat.

Another way of obtaining ground meat is by deboning the entire rabbit before grinding and cooking. You can also dice up this deboned meat for stir fries and casserole recipes. Deboning an entire rabbit is a task that takes time and practice. There are a few good videos out there showing how, which will help you learn.

I’ve also read in the ARBA cookbook that some casserole and stir fry recipes call for par cooking (not fully cooking) the rabbit in boiling water before deboning and then proceeding with the recipe. I haven’t tried the par cooking method yet. Of course, you would not grind the par cooked meat.

I hope this helps. Just so you know, I hooked my hubby onto rabbit meat with a slow cooker recipe I had found that called for a rabbit cut into the serving pieces mentioned before, a can of mushroom soup and other ingredients which also incorporated sour cream 30 minutes before the cooking time was over. Served over rice or noodles it was luscious and chicken like enough that he was convinced rabbit to be good eating. Since then I have tried some recipes that were not as good, but then I just take the leftover cooked meat from the bone and in a couple of days I will make enchiladas or some other recipe that calls for leftover chicken or turkey meat and go from there. Just keep plugging at it. You will figure it out. Don’t give up.
 
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jmal71

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Thanks for your response, I think the next time I want to try it in the oven , we were using the front legs as "wings" it was great taste, just a bit rubbery texture and I was also in a hurry and tried to cook it like chicken, it might have been fine then if i had more time and cooked it low and slow. I am going to try that one more time and then also maybe cooking it awhile in the instant pot first and then baking it and browning it with spices on it. The instant pot can make the toughest rooster really good and fall off the bones. So I am hoping should be similar for rabbit, thanks for the idea's I appreciate it , :)
 

ladysown

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I have found rabbit responds best to any slow cooked method you might employ. Slow roasted at a low temp (225F) in the oven 2-4 hours depending upon bones, no bones, stuffed, rolled, etc.; slow cooked on a smoker grill at 160-180F for 2-3 hours while basting with butter and apple cider vinegar before and during grilling; in an actual slow cooker crock pot with many different combinations found in recipes (Lots of recipes on the internet). Cooking rabbit well takes time and that time, I have found, takes planning. so, I have found I must be more organized and intentional when I want to prepare rabbit and that usually means I am deciding what recipe I’m going to use the day before.

The only way around this is using deboned, ground rabbit, which you can pretty much decide how to prep within an hour of mealtime. There are several ways to achieve deboned, ground rabbit. Thus far, I’ve employed 2 methods:

Since I mostly cook for just myself and hubby (who was also rabbit meat resistant when this all started but now happily eats every time I make it). An entire rabbit, at our ages of 60, is a bit too much for us as one meal. Thus, anytime I prepare a recipe that calls for a whole rabbit cut up into its serving parts (hind quarters, fore quarters, loins), I always set aside the loins and while the leg and arm quarters are cooking, I debone the loin meat, and freeze it. Once I have about 3-4 pounds or so of frozen loin meat (I keep one bag in the freezer where I always add the deboned loin meat until I have accumulated enough to make geting out the grinder worthwhile) I get the bag out, slowly thaw in fridge, then grind into ground meat, separate into 1 pound portions, place each one pound portion into it’s own smaller freezer bag, hand press flat for quick refreeze and thawing, and then just pull from freezer the morning of the day I plan to use it to make: stuffed peppers, meatloaf, stroganoff, burgers, meatballs, etc etc etc any recipe that calls for ground meat, regardless of the type of meat.

Another way of obtaining ground meat is by deboning the entire rabbit before grinding and cooking. You can also dice up this deboned meat for stir fries and casserole recipes. Deboning an entire rabbit is a task that takes time and practice. There are a few good videos out there showing how, which will help you learn.

I’ve also read in the ARBA cookbook that some casserole and stir fry recipes call for par cooking (not fully cooking) the rabbit in boiling water before deboning and then proceeding with the recipe. I haven’t tried the par cooking method yet. Of course, you would not grind the par cooked meat.

I hope this helps. Just so you know, I hooked my hubby onto rabbit meat with a slow cooker recipe I had found that called for a rabbit cut into the serving pieces mentioned before, a can of mushroom soup and other ingredients which also incorporated sour cream 30 minutes before the cooking time was over. Served over rice or noodles it was luscious and chicken like enough that he was convinced rabbit to be good eating. Since then I have tried some recipes that were not as good, but then I just take the leftover cooked meat from the bone and in a couple of days I will make enchiladas or some other recipe that calls for leftover chicken or turkey meat and go from there. Just keep plugging at it. You will figure it out. Don’t give up.
Kelley Bee... have you shared that recipe for us here yet? sounds like one I might want to try!
 

MargieLu1982

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I have found rabbit responds best to any slow cooked method you might employ. Slow roasted at a low temp (225F) in the oven 2-4 hours depending upon bones, no bones, stuffed, rolled, etc.; slow cooked on a smoker grill at 160-180F for 2-3 hours while basting with butter and apple cider vinegar before and during grilling; in an actual slow cooker crock pot with many different combinations found in recipes (Lots of recipes on the internet). Cooking rabbit well takes time and that time, I have found, takes planning. so, I have found I must be more organized and intentional when I want to prepare rabbit and that usually means I am deciding what recipe I’m going to use the day before.

The only way around this is using deboned, ground rabbit, which you can pretty much decide how to prep within an hour of mealtime. There are several ways to achieve deboned, ground rabbit. Thus far, I’ve employed 2 methods:

Since I mostly cook for just myself and hubby (who was also rabbit meat resistant when this all started but now happily eats every time I make it). An entire rabbit, at our ages of 60, is a bit too much for us as one meal. Thus, anytime I prepare a recipe that calls for a whole rabbit cut up into its serving parts (hind quarters, fore quarters, loins), I always set aside the loins and while the leg and arm quarters are cooking, I debone the loin meat, and freeze it. Once I have about 3-4 pounds or so of frozen loin meat (I keep one bag in the freezer where I always add the deboned loin meat until I have accumulated enough to make geting out the grinder worthwhile) I get the bag out, slowly thaw in fridge, then grind into ground meat, separate into 1 pound portions, place each one pound portion into it’s own smaller freezer bag, hand press flat for quick refreeze and thawing, and then just pull from freezer the morning of the day I plan to use it to make: stuffed peppers, meatloaf, stroganoff, burgers, meatballs, etc etc etc any recipe that calls for ground meat, regardless of the type of meat.

Another way of obtaining ground meat is by deboning the entire rabbit before grinding and cooking. You can also dice up this deboned meat for stir fries and casserole recipes. Deboning an entire rabbit is a task that takes time and practice. There are a few good videos out there showing how, which will help you learn.

I’ve also read in the ARBA cookbook that some casserole and stir fry recipes call for par cooking (not fully cooking) the rabbit in boiling water before deboning and then proceeding with the recipe. I haven’t tried the par cooking method yet. Of course, you would not grind the par cooked meat.

I hope this helps. Just so you know, I hooked my hubby onto rabbit meat with a slow cooker recipe I had found that called for a rabbit cut into the serving pieces mentioned before, a can of mushroom soup and other ingredients which also incorporated sour cream 30 minutes before the cooking time was over. Served over rice or noodles it was luscious and chicken like enough that he was convinced rabbit to be good eating. Since then I have tried some recipes that were not as good, but then I just take the leftover cooked meat from the bone and in a couple of days I will make enchiladas or some other recipe that calls for leftover chicken or turkey meat and go from there. Just keep plugging at it. You will figure it out. Don’t give up.
KellyBee, have you ever doen any pressure cooking with fresh or previously frozen then thawed rabbit? I am curious...and a total newbie but love my pressure cooker.
 

KelleyBee

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KellyBee, have you ever doen any pressure cooking with fresh or previously frozen then thawed rabbit? I am curious...and a total newbie but love my pressure cooker.
Actually, while I freeze and then thaw and cook rabbit, I’ve not tried in my pressure cooker just yet. As I think about it, that sure would work nicely on days where I might not have planned as well. I will have to give it a try.
 

eco2pia

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I cook rabbit all the ways. I find that 2 things contribute to toughness--overcooking and rabbit age. For a tender cooking rabbit harvest a little earlier at 8-10 weeks. Are they small? Fine, harvest 2.

I grill rabbit hind legs. That is about as drying as it gets. I marinate before at least 24h, and I always add some kind of fat to the marinade. Then I baste during, and watch it close to avoid overdoing it.

You can always stew or pressure cook, but the very best thing I have found to switch it up is to bone out the loin, cube it, and make stirfry or thai/indian curry out of it. I don't care who they are, if they like that style of cooking they will never even know it is rabbit. Also this is fast--so a week night go-to, @KelleyBee !

My kids prefer rabbit over chicken, but my kids are weird. ALL kids, including my much pickier step kids and neice and nephew, like rabbit in some kind of fry-up over rice. I half think what throws them off is the unfamilar bone anatomy--it looks like a chicken leg quarter but something is "wrong" with it, and when they bite somewhere expecting meat and hit a bone or joint things go sideways for them.
 
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KelleyBee

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jmal71

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I cook rabbit all the ways. I find that 2 things contribute to toughness--overcooking and rabbit age. For a tender cooking rabbit harvest a little earlier at 8-10 weeks. Are they small? Fine, harvest 2.

I grill rabbit hind legs. That is about as drying as it gets. I marinate before at least 24h, and I always add some kind of fat to the marinade. Then I baste during, and watch it close to avoid overdoing it.

You can always stew or pressure cook, but the very best thing I have found to switch it up is to bone out the loin, cube it, and make stirfry or thai/indian curry out of it. I don't care who they are, if they like that style of cooking they will never even know it is rabbit. Also this is fast--so a week night go-to, @KelleyBee !

My kids prefer rabbit over chicken, but my kids are weird. ALL kids, including my much pickier step kids and neice and nephew, like rabbit in some kind of fry-up over rice. I half think what throws them off is the unfamilar bone anatomy--it looks like a chicken leg quarter but something is "wrong" with it, and when they bite somewhere expecting meat and hit a bone or joint things go sideways for them.
Oh that sounds delicious !!! Mine are younger, around 12ish weeks, and I have been saying that too, as I am trying to improve my mini rex and everyone keeps saying rhey are too small to eat, I said you just need to do a few more of them. Thanks for the idea's. :)
 

jmal71

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I have found rabbit responds best to any slow cooked method you might employ. Slow roasted at a low temp (225F) in the oven 2-4 hours depending upon bones, no bones, stuffed, rolled, etc.; slow cooked on a smoker grill at 160-180F for 2-3 hours while basting with butter and apple cider vinegar before and during grilling; in an actual slow cooker crock pot with many different combinations found in recipes (Lots of recipes on the internet). Cooking rabbit well takes time and that time, I have found, takes planning. so, I have found I must be more organized and intentional when I want to prepare rabbit and that usually means I am deciding what recipe I’m going to use the day before.

The only way around this is using deboned, ground rabbit, which you can pretty much decide how to prep within an hour of mealtime. There are several ways to achieve deboned, ground rabbit. Thus far, I’ve employed 2 methods:

Since I mostly cook for just myself and hubby (who was also rabbit meat resistant when this all started but now happily eats every time I make it). An entire rabbit, at our ages of 60, is a bit too much for us as one meal. Thus, anytime I prepare a recipe that calls for a whole rabbit cut up into its serving parts (hind quarters, fore quarters, loins), I always set aside the loins and while the leg and arm quarters are cooking, I debone the loin meat, and freeze it. Once I have about 3-4 pounds or so of frozen loin meat (I keep one bag in the freezer where I always add the deboned loin meat until I have accumulated enough to make geting out the grinder worthwhile) I get the bag out, slowly thaw in fridge, then grind into ground meat, separate into 1 pound portions, place each one pound portion into it’s own smaller freezer bag, hand press flat for quick refreeze and thawing, and then just pull from freezer the morning of the day I plan to use it to make: stuffed peppers, meatloaf, stroganoff, burgers, meatballs, etc etc etc any recipe that calls for ground meat, regardless of the type of meat.

Another way of obtaining ground meat is by deboning the entire rabbit before grinding and cooking. You can also dice up this deboned meat for stir fries and casserole recipes. Deboning an entire rabbit is a task that takes time and practice. There are a few good videos out there showing how, which will help you learn.

I’ve also read in the ARBA cookbook that some casserole and stir fry recipes call for par cooking (not fully cooking) the rabbit in boiling water before deboning and then proceeding with the recipe. I haven’t tried the par cooking method yet. Of course, you would not grind the par cooked meat.

I hope this helps. Just so you know, I hooked my hubby onto rabbit meat with a slow cooker recipe I had found that called for a rabbit cut into the serving pieces mentioned before, a can of mushroom soup and other ingredients which also incorporated sour cream 30 minutes before the cooking time was over. Served over rice or noodles it was luscious and chicken like enough that he was convinced rabbit to be good eating. Since then I have tried some recipes that were not as good, but then I just take the leftover cooked meat from the bone and in a couple of days I will make enchiladas or some other recipe that calls for leftover chicken or turkey meat and go from there. Just keep plugging at it. You will figure it out. Don’t give up.
We raise pigs too, or did, the cost is getting prohibitive, but anyway .. I am quite familiar with cutting and grinding, I did a few last time and everyone loved it !! My husband would love this, he loves rice and anything served over it, LOL Sounds like something we need to try, thank you !
 

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I only crockpot/pressure cook.
I always over cook/dry out all meats when cooking any other way. 😅

45min pressure cooked or 6hrs slow cook. Results the same, fall off the bone, soft, not the least bit dried out. Can even nuke leftovers without getting dry.

Fancy flavors are lost on me & I eat because I have to, so I don't mind it being plain and boring.
 

jmal71

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I only crockpot/pressure cook.
I always over cook/dry out all meats when cooking any other way. 😅

45min pressure cooked or 6hrs slow cook. Results the same, fall off the bone, soft, not the least bit dried out. Can even nuke leftovers without getting dry.

Fancy flavors are lost on me & I eat because I have to, so I don't mind it being plain and boring.
Thanks for the times, I think I am going to try this, just waiting for some grow outs to get to weight, I just did 8 for my daughter, and I told her to make sure she uses moist long slow heat, so hopefully she will like it, :)
 

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