When you're ready for some fresh wild game meal ideas, these rabbit recipes will satisfy every time.
In regards to other game animals, rabbits have lost their role as a meal staple over the last few generations. Many will say that once you've had a taste of these critters, you may discover a new favorite. Rabbit is some of the best-eating wild game that we know of, so it's natural that you're going to want a few rabbit recipes that will do it justice once you get a brace of them home.
Hunting rabbits is possible to do on your own, but having a good group of beagles may just be the difference between eating them and watching disappear into the thick undergrowth.
Afterwards, learning to dress and butcher them in preparation for our favorite cast iron skillet is an ideal way of savoring the experience. Here's where to take it from there. As with so many other wild game meat, there are endless rabbit recipes to gather and share. Try one of these and you won't regret it.
The man behind Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook is Hank Shaw, and he shares a great recipe for braised rabbit that he learned from the incomparable Penelope Casas. It is as easy as it gets for lovers of wild rabbit, and more so that this recipe can be used for preparing turkey, quail, partridge, pheasant, squirrel or grouse.
It all starts with two cottontails, dressed and ready for cooking, plus these ingredients:
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cottontails, cut into pieces
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced into 1/4" pieces from root to tip
- 1 head of garlic, cloves whole and peeled
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. Black pepper
- 1 cup peas
"Heat the olive oil in a large, lidded pot like a Dutch oven or, if you have one, an earthenware pot. Brown the rabbit pieces well, salting them as you do. Remove them as they brown and set aside. When the rabbit is browned, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and cook another minute or two."
Find the entire recipe here.
Since wild rabbit meat is lean and rich in flavor, its earthy flavors tend well to stew. Wild rabbits run a lot and the muscles get very developed, which is why the meat is so dark and often a bit tough.
Here's a great recipe from the Primitive Palate that is fairly simple and very good.
- 2 cottontail rabbits
- 2 tbsp mustard powder
- 2 tbsp soy flour
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 small onions, peeled and diced
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 2 large carrots
- A few sprigs thyme
- 1 quart stock (beef or chicken work well)
- ½ tsp whole grain mustard
Putting It All Together
In a large mixing bowl, combine the mustard powder and soy flour with a few pinches of salt and black pepper. Roll all the rabbit pieces and parts in the seasoning until well coated. Heat the oil in a large, shallow sauté pan over a medium heat, and then add the rabbit to brown evenly on all sides.
Find the entire recipe here.
You might think that it would be a simple task of dressing your wild bunny and then frying it in some oil to perfection. While that's mostly true, frying any game meat means taking a bit more caution since it is so much more lean. That doesn't mean that it won't be great when you pull it off.
Hank Shaw contributes again with a great buttermilk rabbit recipe that's easy.
- 2 or 3 cottontails
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp cayenne, or to taste
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups vegetable oil
Mix the buttermilk with the all the spices except the salt and flour. Coat the rabbit with the mixture and set in a covered container overnight. When you are ready to fry, pour the oil into a cast iron skillet to a depth of about an inch. Basically, you want the oil to come halfway up the side of the rabbit.
For the entire recipe go here.
Expert Tips for Cooking Wild Rabbit
Rabbit can be fried, roasted, braised, baked, put into a casserole or into a cacciatore, and it can always be cooked over an open fire like Jeremiah Johnson did. Some of those who cook rabbit prefer it crispy and others like it tender with dumplings or noodles. Cooking rabbit doesn't have to be all that much different than roasting or BBQ grilling chicken thighs, but for first time rabbit cooks it may seem a bit daunting. Trust us, it isn't.
Braising may sound like a fancy word and advanced technique, but it simply means to fry it lightly first and then stew it slowly in a closed container or slow cooker. Rabbit meat is lean and likely to dry easily, so taking measures like a soak in buttermilk or cooking "slow and low" can make the difference. Cook time is very important (as it is with all wild game meat) since the meat is quite lean and easy to dry out. Mustard sauces are a great addition to wild rabbit since it can take away some of the gamey taste.
Since most folks don't have rabbit stock in their pantry, chicken stock is the most common substitute. Keep in mind, a harvested rabbit can be used for its meat, but also for making rabbit stock.
Even at that, wild rabbit is known to be a rich, earthy, and distinct game meat that is a favorite of a great many sportsmen and women. For those new to eating wild rabbit, perhaps one of these recipes can help introduce you.