Like most animal products, rabbit meat is a good source of protein. But, you may think twice about ordering rabbit because it is less common and rarely served in the United States.
If you’ve decided you want to try rabbit meat, here’s all you need to know about what rabbit meat is called and how to prepare it.
Is there another name for rabbit meat?
While other types of meat have specific names, such as beef for cow meat and pork for domestic pig meat, rabbit meat is called ‘rabbit meat’ and has no other name. There are no culinary terms for rabbit meat because it is less common and rarely served in the United States.
What is rabbit meat called in English?
Just as chicken meat is called chicken, rabbit meat is simply called ‘rabbit.’ in English. Unlike mutton or pork, there are no alternative names for rabbit meat.
What Kind of Meat is Rabbit Meat?
Rabbit meat is a type of white meat with low-fat content. Compared to other meats like chicken, pork, and beef, it contains more protein per serving and is healthy for you. But, you should limit the amount of rabbit meat you eat because it can cause protein poisoning.
Can You Eat Rabbit Meat?
Rabbit meat is safe to eat when cooked properly, like you might cook chicken or beef. But people worldwide have unique opinions on consuming rabbits for food — even though this animal was frequently eaten in the United States until the mid-20th century.
Animal rights activists may be uncomfortable with eating rabbits because they’re popular as pets in many countries. In some parts of the world, rabbits are treated better than other domesticated animals. It’s better to raise rabbits in groups because they’re social animals instead of in small cages, but this can be unsustainable for smaller farms.
Tips For Sourcing or Hunting Rabbit Meat
If you enjoy the savory, unique rabbit meat flavor, you don’t have to get a shotgun and start finding places to hunt these small animals. You can find imported rabbit meat in many local butcher shops, farmers’ markets, and some grocery stores.
When you’re buying and cooking any type of animal, it’s best to review the guidelines around cleaning and storing the meat to avoid food poisoning. Consider the following guidelines to make sure that your family stays healthy.
How to Source Rabbit Meat?
Your nearby grocery store might or might not sell rabbit meat. Those living in a rural area may find a local butcher shop or a farmer’s market. It’s also possible to hunt your own rabbit meat instead of buying it at the store — but hunting rabbits is not as simple as it sounds. Educate yourself on gun safety and plan transport and clean the animal so the meat does not spoil.
How to Store Rabbit Meat?
Like beef or chicken, you can safely store cooked rabbit meat in the fridge for a couple of fo days or frozen for a few months if you want to eat them later. If you freeze raw rabbit meat, don’t put it on the countertop to thaw. This will cause bacteria growth that can make you sick. Instead, place frozen rabbit meat in the fridge and let it defrost for a day or so.
You can safely use fully cooked rabbit meat in various stews and baked dishes.
Pros and Cons of Eating Rabbit Meat
Most people think rabbit meat has a unique, mild flavor that can be seasoned to taste and used in many dishes, including stir-fries and stews. Rabbit is a lean protein, making it good for your heart and won’t contribute to heart disease.
The cons of eating rabbit meat are usually psychological. You may not like the idea of eating a pet animal even if you’ve never had a rabbit as a pet. If this won’t bother you, you may be upset that rabbit meat can be hard to find at grocery stores.
Additionally, many people don’t have the resources to learn how to hunt rabbit meat. If you enjoy hunting or are given rabbit meat from someone else’s hunting trip, it’s important to clean and store fresh rabbit meat safely.
Our Favorite Meat Rabbits Breeds
New Zealand Rabbits
The New Zealand rabbit breed is one of the most common meat rabbit breeds. It’s estimated that 90% of the rabbits raised for meat are New Zealand rabbits. One reason may be that this rabbit breed has an exceptional meat-to-bone ratio. Plus, New Zealand rabbits grow rapidly and require less space. Despite their name, the New Zealand rabbit originated in America in the early 1900s.
As the second most popular meat-producing rabbit breed in the world, the California rabbit weighs up to 12 pounds. As a meat rabbit, this breed is fast-growing and stocky. When harvested, they provide a good amount of meat. The California rabbits usually have a gentle disposition, making them easier to raise.
All About Eating Rabbit
Rabbits have been hunted and consumed since before recorded history, but we are sure that around 1000 BC, the Phoenicians domesticated the wild rabbits found in Spain. These rabbits were native to North Africa and Spain, but human exploration spread them across the globe. Now rabbits are found on nearly every continent.
Eating rabbit meat is quite common in the Mediterranean, and Italy and France are responsible for the highest consumption of rabbits in Europe. Typical menus in Italy feature rabbit meat in cacciatore, ragu, and lasagna. The mildness of rabbit meat is often accented with the bold flavors of fennel, mustard, olives, anchovies, and tomatoes.
In France, rabbit is typically served with coarse, grainy style mustard. And you’ll find rabbit meat in European restaurants.
Tips For Cooking Rabbit Meat
If you are cooking a young rabbit up to 12 weeks old), you can fry or roast it because it’s tender than adult rabbits. On the contrary, roasters need slow cooking processes like braising. Try the saddle or loin if you are cooking rabbit parts because they’re tender. The front legs of rabbits are tiny and are best to set aside for stock or stew. The hind legs are tough and usually need a moist braise. Lean rabbit meat is perfect for bacon.
Is rabbit meat popular?
Yes, there’s a rabbit meat renaissance going on! Chefs influenced by the nose-to-tail philosophy and interested in sustainability issues are discovering that rabbit is healthy in so many ways. Urban farmers are teaching people how to raise rabbits in small backyards and cook them. If we eat cows and chickens, there seems to be no logical reason to irk at the thought of rabbits on the menu.