Why the Health Conscious are Turning to Rabbit Meat

English: Entrance to a rabbit warren.

English: Entrance to a rabbit warren. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even though most animals that fit in the ‘game’ category lend themselves to the strong flavors associated with dark meat, rabbit is considered a white meat along with pork and the breasts of poultry.  The nutritional elements and the exotic dishes to be cooked with rabbit have created a resurgence in cooking with it in the United States.

Historically, rabbit has been a traditional dish in Europe.  France and its famous culinary magic, is the country that consumes more rabbit meat than any other nation.  Italy, too, known for its rich and flavorful sauces, has had a long love affair with the rabbit.

Ways to Prepare Rabbit Meat

More often than not, the most popular way to cook it is in some type of stew.  The reasons are twofold.  Economically, the rabbit is ideal as it can be roasted or grilled with the bulk of it consumed, saving the tasty leftovers for a soup that will extend it for another meal.  There is very little waste in a rabbit and in fact only 7% of it is inedible. This is the lowest of any other meat.  And simply put, the fine savory nature of the rabbit seems to be best when made the centerpiece of long elaborately prepared dishes complemented with any number of spices, vegetables and liquids.

It isn’t that a young rabbit is tough, it is that the subtle nuances of its flavors surface within hours of an exquisite simmer.  The French invoke their rabbit with another one of their specialties, wine. Either to marinate before grilling or roasting, wine is widely used as a base for a broth.  In Thailand, the wine of choice, coconut milk, summons the sweet, nutty flavor rabbit invokes. Lemon used liberally is a common style one might eat in Greece on braised rabbit.  Saltimbocca is an Italian dish from Rome that means ‘salt=jump’, ‘im=in’, ‘bocca=mouth’.  Translated…jump in your mouth.  It is simply that good!

Here in the US many cooks like to throw rabbit right on the BBQ grill. It can be prepared into kabobs, casseroles and of course – fried.

Urban Farming with Rabbits

As the art of urban farming expands, more Americans have become interested in maintaining a hutch to grow their own rabbits.  With the prices of traditional meat on the rise, and more importantly, the safety of commercial meats has been so fraught with controversy, raising rabbits for personal use is not as daunting as one might think.  There is hardly any other meat that could be raised in a suburban back yard other than the rabbit.  In this manner, a family can be assured of providing adequate and the absolute freshest, healthiest meat source that exists.

If you are curious about the possibility of trying a meal with rabbit, you don’t necessarily have to grow your own; although it’s not a bad idea.  That’s because even though rabbit is not sold at the major chain grocery stores, you can find it at places like Whole Foods.   Check the internet for rabbit breeders in your area or call your local feed stores who could recommend someone. And don’t forget, here at Crossroads Rabbitry, we sell rabbits too – but just remember we do not ship them and they are sold live.


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