Though rabbit hunting is an exciting sport, especially where rabbit dogs are a part of it, a major reason to hunt rabbits is for food purposes. Rabbits make for a tasty feast that can be easily prepared by using various methods. Regardless of the type of meal that suits your fancy, rabbit meat can definitely be a part of it.
In addition to the thrill of the hunt and the pride associated with bringing home wild game for dinner, there are many reasons for choosing to consume rabbit. For one thing, it is healthy. Rabbit meat is low in cholesterol and has fewer calories per pound in comparison to other meat. Additionally, this white meat animal gives you an overall larger amount of protein in combination with the smallest amount of fat of any other animal fit for human consumption. Health benefits aside, rabbit is pleasing to the palate as well. Though wild rabbits can at time be slightly gamey, an overnight soak in refrigerated salted water should eradicate much of that issue and the meat can then be prepared in accordance with your dinner plans.
Speaking of dinner plans, just how do you plan to cook your rabbit? For starters, rabbit meat should reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit before consumption to kill any lingering bacteria. As long as that temperature is achieved, the sky is the limit when preparing a meal of rabbit. Seasonings that pair well with rabbit include rosemary, sage, parsley, and basil. Marinades such as seasoned olive oil, wine, or other concoctions may be used as well to enhance the natural flavor of rabbit meat. Once you've seasoned and/or marinated the rabbit to your heart's content, the options for actual preparation are virtually endless, such as fried, roasted, or stew. Here are some recipe tips:
To fry a rabbit, start by cutting it into sections. In a small bowl, place enough milk to cover these pieces. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. On the stove, heat 1/4 inch of cooking oil until moderately warm, then begin the process of dipping rabbit pieces in the milk. Once the rabbit is wet with milk, move it over to the mixing bowl and coat thoroughly in the flour mixture. From there, move the pieces into the oil where they will need to cook until brown. Start this process with the larger pieces and work your way down to the smaller ones for uniform cook time. Total time will be determined by size of meat portions as well as the heat applied, but expect to invest about 30 minutes, turning the pieces in the process.
When you roast a rabbit, it is good to prepare a rub first. This can consist of the herbs of your choice and some olive oil. Mix these together and then coat your rabbit by hand. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake, keeping in mind that weight determines cook time. For example, a rabbit weighing two pounds should be ready in about an hour to an hour and a half. The addition of vegetables may increase cook time.
If rabbit stew is what you have in mind, begin by cutting the rabbit into small pieces. Take these pieces and place them in a pot with your desired seasonings, browning them gently. Once brown, add water and the vegetables of your choice. Cover and let simmer for approximately two hours, stirring periodically. When the meat and vegetables become tender, your meal is ready to eat.
When it comes to being certain that your rabbit meat is done, investing in a meat thermometer is advantageous. This device will quickly allow you to check internal temperature, being certain that a temperature of 160 degrees has been reached and your rabbit is ready to eat. These can be purchased for about $10 and used to prepare any type of meat.
Next time you set out on a hunt with your rabbit dogs, what type of rabbit meal will you be planning? Do you have any recipes you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments.