Smoked rabbit

pagan

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Traeger Nation!

First time post, 2 year owner. I was looking for a good smoked rabbit recipe and only found a few resources online–most of which differed on the actual cooking method. My first attempt went really well yesterday, and (although I forgot to take pics) I'm sharing here in case another wayward soul is looking for answers :)

3# rabbit w/giblets, previously frozen, bought from butcher

  1. Broke rabbit down (4 legs, split the saddle in half crosswise), saved neck, belly, giblets, and misc bits for the stock pot
  2. Brined, 1 hour–would have done 24 hours but was in a hurry
    • 5 qts water
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup salt
  3. Removed from brine, dried, and covered in rub
    • Salt
    • Garlic Powder
    • White Pepper
    • Onion Powder
    • Dried Oregano
    • Dried Basil
    • Dried Thyme
  4. Smoked at 250 for 1 hour, spraying with apple juice & bourbon after 30 min
  5. Moved rabbit to dutch oven with 3 tbs butter and enough apple juice to partially cover the rabbit chunks
  6. Braised until fork tender (2 hours @ 180, 1 hour @ 225)
It turned out great! Beautifully tender with an amazing meat flavor–definitely in love with this protein :) I intentionally avoided wrapping in bacon or stronger seasonings in order to let the meat shine, and shine it did.


A few things to note:
Things got confusing at step 4, since some sources recommended cooking hot and fast, while others said low and slow. You need to hit 160, but rabbit is apparently easy to dry out. Other forums I read seemed to indicate that 250 would be fine for a few hours–this was not the case for me. When I checked the temp after an hour, every piece had reached 160 and some of the skinnier pieces were starting to push 180. Super worried that I was going to dry it out, I pivoted to the dutch oven and was really happy with the results. Still, I would definitely do a few things different next time:

  • Much longer brine
  • Either of these:
    • Low and slow on smoke/180 until 160 (guess 3-4 hours?), wrap in foil and steam with apple juice until tender
    • Keep the 250 heat, but pot the rabbit after a shorter duration (~45min) and braise only at 225 for longer

That’s all! Thanks for reading.

pagan
 

Beaser

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What is your rub recipe ? They're all among my favourite spices, finding the right ratio can be a chore.
 
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pagan

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I used:
  • 2 tbs Kosher Salt
  • 2 tbs Garlic Powder
  • 4 tsp White Pepper
  • 3 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 2 tsp Dried Basil
  • 2 tsp Dried Thyme
More white pepper gives it a bit of a bite–some people like it, some people don't. Good on chicken too :)
 

Mr.Fabulous

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Smoked rabbit! That brings back childhood memories. My dad would rabbit hunt as well as raise them. When he would get enough together, he would build a big oak fire in the basement fireplace, and roast them over the coals. He would hang them from coat hangers suspended from a wooden dowel over the fire. His rub was cayenne pepper and salt. He would spray them periodically with apple cider vinegar to keep them from drying out. Then all the friends and neighbors would come for dinner and we would have a big potluck.

The house would smell of wood smoke, vinegar, and roast meat for weeks after. I can almost remember that smell. Man I miss those days!
 

Mr.Fabulous

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What is your ratio of apple juice to bourbon in your spray? And what bourbon do you use. I keep a crap bottle of Jim Beam around for cooking purposes. The cheapest bottle currently in my cabinet besides that is Eagle Rare. Not sure what the most expensive bottle is, I try not to think about that .....
 

Beaser

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What is your ratio of apple juice to bourbon in your spray? And what bourbon do you use. I keep a crap bottle of Jim Beam around for cooking purposes. The cheapest bottle currently in my cabinet besides that is Eagle Rare. Not sure what the most expensive bottle is, I try not to think about that .....
Your culinary creations deserve the best hooch money can buy ?
 

primeone

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Welcome to the forum @pagan - thanks for sharing the Rabbit tips!
 

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