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Discussion Starter #1
O great rabbit gurus,

I know when I butcher chickens I leave them in the fridge for 48 hours or so, so that rigor mortis can pass and the meat gets tender again.

I butchered three rabbits this morning. Do I need to age the meat similarly or should I go ahead and freeze or can it?
 

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Bearfootfarm, that was a very interesting article! It was educational and entertaining. Thanks for the good read. The rabbits will stay in the fridge at least 2 or 3 days.
 

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Good question and information.
I've wondered why our rabbit was a bit tough.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
SquashNut, I've also heard that rabbit can be tough because it has so little fat. Cooking slowly and with moisture is supposed to be good.

I've only cooked rabbit a few times. The hasenpfeffer recipe in the sticky at the top of the forum is to die for.

I've slow simmered rabbit in a big pot with carrots and onions, deboned, and stirred in commercial barbecue sauce. It took a LOT of sauce - the meat is dry even after simmering, somehow. I'm thinking maybe 1.5 bottles for 3 rabbits? The meat is so tender it shreds itself while you stir in the sauce. Freeze for sandwiches later.

I grilled the rabbit once, but marinated it a long time beforehand. It turned out good. I had grilled rabbit at a friend's house and it was like chewing on a tasty shoe.
 

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we moved 2 from the cage to the frige fri morning. we break them down to legs and back then throw them into a big bowl of salt water for 2 to 3 days then freeze or cook.

rm
 

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Enjoying Polish Rabbits
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We much prefer them aged, although it's difficult to convince hubby that 3 days is OK. We then vacuum seal ours to prevent freezer burn.

Accidentally discovered a great way to cook them. This weekend past I took two whole rabbits, thawed, soaked in salt water for about an hour or so. Then I took one, stuffed two whole sausages in the body cavity (honey garlic), wrapped the whole thing in tin foil, (did the same to the other) and cooked slowly on the barbeque. My goodness gracious! Can hardly wait to try with hot italian sausage!
 

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What's the purpose of soaking in salt water? Does it make the meat jucier and less dry?

Bernadette, that sounds really good!

Something I'm going to try, maybe with one of these three or more likely with one of the next batch, is to put the rabbit pieces along with some marinade into a foodsaver bag, vacuum seal, and freeze. Then when I take it out to thaw, it will marinade right in the bag. Should be pretty easy and no mess.
 

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Enjoying Polish Rabbits
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The salt water soak, or brining, I read about here a while back. So I searched it on the internet and found a 'formula' or recipe. So much salt per so much water, then how long to soak per pound of meat. I just put about 1/2 cup pickling salt - it must be non-iodized salt - in water to cover and soak for about an hour or so. We find it makes the meat easier to get off the bone, the meat is very tender and moist. Whether that's the brining, or the fact that I now always cook rabbit 'sealed' in foil, or in liquid in a casserole or slow cooker. I also find the slower it's cooked the better it is.

Also, my favorite herb to use with rabbit is summer savory. Just seems to compliment.
 

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Webuy chicken breast in a salt brine and it is so tender you can cut it with a fork. Should work on Rabbit. I would think any sause with vinegar or lemon juice would tenderixe it as well.
 

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We always soaked venison in salt water or vinegar solution to help remove any excess blood that can cause an off flavor to the meat.
Don't forget, soaking in any fluid will "add water" to the product-- so if you are selling the processed meat, the customer needs to be aware of that fact.....
 

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One other benefit from the salt soaking is it helps float any hair off the meat that may have stuck to it during butchering. It does take away some of the "natural " flavor
 

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Isn't rabbit a lean meat without surface fat? The article says; "Aging meat that has no surface fat at all is not recommended. The lack of fat allows the meat to lose moisture and is likely to encourage deterioration."

For those who have aged rabbit meat, do you find it improves the texture and or flavor or not? Do you age it in brine to prevent loss of moisture?
 

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I don't know if you are supposed to or not...but soaking rabbit in salt water makes all the difference in the world. We soak our freshly processed rabbit in salt water for 2-days before we freeze them. I processed some rabbit for a family cookout. The day of cookout several more family members decided to RSVP. I went to the barn and processed 3-more and cooked them later in the day.

Difference was "day and night." Just sayin...
 
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If you cook it wishing 10 minutes or so of butchering, you can skip the aging process. If you aren't going to be able to cook it in a few minutes - allow it to age, and keep it moist, soak it. Brine or marinate works.
 

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Fresh butchered, still warm, soak in warm buttermilk to remove any blood and cook while still warm. We pour room temperature Italian dressing on it. Cook 2 hours at 250 and 30minutes at 350 to brown. Add Italian dressing as needed and baste every 30 minutes, let baste thicken at the end and use as sauce. Do not let baste burn. Otherwise they need to set for at least 48 hours in the refrigerator before use or frozen. I still use buttermilk before cooking, but cold then.

Rabbit has surface fat, not marbled in the meat, I remove big chunks if real fat but leave a fair amount. I even leave some fat when making jerky....James
 

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Isn't rabbit a lean meat without surface fat? The article says; "Aging meat that has no surface fat at all is not recommended. The lack of fat allows the meat to lose moisture and is likely to encourage deterioration."

For those who have aged rabbit meat, do you find it improves the texture and or flavor or not? Do you age it in brine to prevent loss of moisture?
We always hung ours with their skins etc still on, just gutted. These were wild rabbits so much older generaly and 0 fat none at all, sometimes they were VERY tough. we would hang them anywhere between 12 hours and 2 days depending on the weather.
 

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We have not aged our rabbit or soaked in water (brine). I have found more so the age at which harvested plays more of a role to me. I have grilled, pan fried, baked, and not had a tough rabbit. Key also is slow cook. We have harvested an older rabbit, and it way beyond chewy. Crock pot next day didn't help either.
 
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