Raising Rabbits in Colony Series

Brining and Cooking Rabbit

by guest author Tricia Woolbright

Some people are particular about their brining procedures, but as long as you’ve got the fundamentals, nothing else really makes THAT much difference. A basic brine is just salt and water, and the idea is that the salt percolates into the meat, and water follows by osmosis. More water in the meat helps to keep it tender while you’re cooking it.

If you’re feeling lazy, stopping there is good enough. Just put a cup of salt into a gallon of water and call it good.

The next thing to think about adding is an acid of some sort. We use apple cider vinegar. The acid helps to break the muscle tissue down a bit, and allow more salt to work its way into the meat. Mix a quart into the above gallon of salt water.

Beyond that, be creative. Below is a recipe we used for a while, that we cobbled together from several we found online. We’ve since traded out the sugar for more salt, and simply skip the various wines, but do whatever you want. Pick whatever herbs and/or spices you like, and experiment with amounts.

It’s best to have the brine ready and cold before starting, but it’s not really THAT important. Just keep it in the fridge while you’re soaking, and it will be good enough. We usually brine overnight (and have gone as long as multiple overnights, if we forget about it), but it doesn’t need to be nearly that long.

  • 1.5 gal water (24 C)
  • 6 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 C white wine vinegar
  • 12.7 oz bottle white cooking wine
  • ½ C red cooking wine
  • 1 C salt
  • ½ C sugar
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 C dried oregano
  • 1 head garlic
  • 3 small onions
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary

Most of the rabbits go from the brine into the freezer. For a long time, we used gallon zipper bags, but there was always a lot of ice on them when we eventually pulled them out to eat. More than there should be, for the little bit of brine that was left on them. So last year we got a vacuum sealer (affiliate link), and have been using that since.

My favorite rabbit recipe is to cut the parts up, lay them out flat in a greased baking dish, place bacon all over it, cover it in tomato sauce (I can my own, but use whatever you like), and bake it at 400° for 40 min.

The fat and acid help to make it very tender and juicy. Serve with whatever sides you like. We are low carb, so I usually do a cheesy cauliflower dish.

The other thing we commonly do is put it in the crock pot with tomato sauce and veggies. I think that just turns it to mush, but Cameron prefers it.

Recipe for cooking rabbit livers, kidneys, and hearts

We only recently started saving the hearts and livers, but here’s my favorite recipe for them from Deep End O’ The Pool.

Ingredients:

  • 4 rabbit livers
  • 8 rabbit kidneys
  • 4 rabbit hearts
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 sprigs tarragon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 springs fresh tarragon, leaves chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Brine livers in salt water for 2-3 hours prior to cooking. Rinse, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Slice livers into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Heat saute pan to medium heat and melt butter. Add garlic, stirring constantly for about a minute.
  3. Add livers, hearts, and kidneys. Cook about 2-3 minutes on each side, until just golden brown, stirring often.
  4. Remove meat, lower heat to medium low. If butter has cooked off, add a little more.
  5. Add tarragon and stir until herbs have wilted. Slowly stir in heavy cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Return meat to pan and bring to low simmer until sauce has thickened.
  7. Serve immediately, sprinkling with chopped onions and cilantro.

Raising Rabbits in Colony
is a series with guest author Tricia Woolbright.

She showed us the whole process, from decision to delicious!

Jump back to catch any parts that you missed:

Raising Rabbits in Colony: Do It For the Shit
Designing and Building a Rabbit Colony
Cleaning and Composting in The Rabbit Colony
Feeding Rabbits: Weeds, Greens, and More
How To Slaughter A Rabbit: The Kill
How To Dress A Rabbit Step-by-Step With Photos
Brining and Cooking Rabbit


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