I was maybe 13 when my stepfather killed, skinned and cooked a rabbit. As he sat it in front of me to try, I burst into tears – how on earth could he expect me to eat a sweet, adorable, harmless little bunny? Fast forward about 35 or so years, and my tulips and vegetable garden are being decimated by those adorable-but-not-so-harmless bunnies. It occurs to me that they are probably damn tasty, being so well-fed, and that if I could
strangle catch one with my bare hands it would become dinner in very short order.
Odd how age changes ones perspective.
It is also odd that my kids are not in the least bit squeamish about eating critters – I’m not sure why, since I never fed them anything out of the ordinary until relatively recently. It is particularly puzzling because The Young One, who turns his nose up at sweet potatoes, cabbage, cooked carrots, plantains, beans of any sort (with the exception of green beans), parsnips, beets, radishes, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, collard greens, onions, most nuts and quiche will eat just about anything if you tell him it is a) meat or 2) cheese.
We had planned to cook our rabbit over the weekend, but postponed because the boy complained he would not be at home to eat any, due to work and plans with friends. So, we made it last night and I discovered something amusing, but not particularly surprising: given the opportunity, my 17-year-old son can decimate an entire bunny by himself. And while he normally wouldn’t touch rhubarb with a 10-foot pole, if you turn it into a sauce and slather said bunny with it while it is on the grill, he will declare it one of the best things he’s eaten. EVAR.
I particularly enjoyed this recipe because it forced me to learn to cut up a rabbit, which turned out to be far easier than I anticipated – there’s an excellent step-by-step tutorial here. One thing to be aware of is that Hank is cutting up a wild rabbit that he has skinned and cleaned himself; if you’re like me, you probably only have access to domestic rabbit that has already been butchered and frozen – ours was already remarkably clean, with very little silverskin to remove. I also cut the loins from the bones; I’m not very fond of eating things off the spine (although I may change my mind about that). If you’re squeamish about the process, you might be able to find rabbit that has already been cut down into its component parts.
Young rabbits are small, so count on one only feeding two people (unless, of course, you are feeding a teenage carnivore). They’re also quite lean, so low and slow is the best way to cook them, even on the grill, and marinating the rabbit prior to grilling is a good idea, even though the flavor is quite mild.
Note: The carb count on this recipe is probably overstated a bit, since the yogurt marinade is rinsed from the rabbit before grilling.
- 2 small rabbits, cut into pieces
- 1 cup whole-milk yogurt
- salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup Rhubarb Chutney Sauce
- Place the rabbit pieces in a large bowl and smear with the yogurt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but as long as 8.
- Remove the rabbit from the bowl and rinse off the yogurt marinade; pat dry. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and allow the rabbit to come to room temperature, about half an hour. While the rabbit is resting, prepare the grill.
- Cook the meat over indirect heat, turning frequently, until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 F – 165 F. Baste the rabbit with the rhubarb sauce during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- Allow the rabbit to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Nutrition (per serving): 385 calories, 14.6g total fat, 137.2mg cholesterol, 122.7mg sodium, 927.3mg potassium, 12.7g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 11.1g sugar, 47.9g protein