Rabbit: Breaking Down a Carcass, Oven Fried Recipe

30 Jul

A few weeks ago, Loren came down from the tree house (his office on the second floor) with some information regarding rabbits, local supplier, close to us…it all sounded great. With a phone call and a few emails, we secured a time and date for pick up for the entire lot; as they only butcher ten to twelve a month, we figured we pick up ten and break them down for multi use.

Starting with a sanitized area, I created bins for each of the following;

Hind Legs for confit/oil poach (more on that later)

Fore Legs and Saddles (we’d re-portion these, recipe for oven “fried” later)

Scrap (carcass and bits to be roasted later for stock, more on that later, too)

Here’s a pic of the set up. I used a smaller cutting board placed in a 1/2 sheet pan to keep the blood & mess to a minimum. This is a great procedure when you are breaking down multiple, similar things (remember not to cross contaminate) like rabbits, chickens, ducks, quail, etc…….


here’s a pic of the prize; ten beautiful rabbits we picked up the day before……


Okay..so there’s only eight. We put the two largest ones in the freezer, whole, for use on the
grill or for a stew.

The break down is pretty easy. Here’s a whole rabbit, fresh from the butcher. Image

Starting with the back legs, you can see and feel where the joints move. It’s easiest to cut straight through the joint, and down the lower spine on either side. From the inside, you can see a really fine white line separating the muscles, close to the spine. After the legs are removed, place them in the pan for holding.

Move up from there to the flesh around the rib case and cut along the line from the end of the ribs where it connects up with the spine and cut straight across, matching the other side. At this point, remove the lower spine, placing that portion into the “scrap” pan. Once the saddle is removed, it can be further cleaned up by removing the spice, creating a boneless piece. Remember that this is really lean meat and will cook quickly. Bone in will give some insulation to the cooking process, and flavor.

The front legs are similar to the back legs with the joints, feel first by moving the leg to find the joint, cut through and scrape the meat along the ribcage. Easy, right? Image

Once the rabbit has been broken down, place like pieces into the bins that you want to wrap or use later.

Pictured above, back legs that will become confit, or oil poached.


Here’s saddles and fore legs. We wrapped & labelled packages or four pieces each for later use.


Finally, the “scrap bin” These rib cages and tail bones will be roasted and used in making stock. For now, here’s a recipe for oven fried rabbit-


Oven Fried Rabbit       serves two to four

4 Rabbit front legs, cleaned, washed and paper towel dried

4 Rabbit saddles, cleaned , washed and paper towel dried

2 cups Whole Wheat Flour

2 Eggs

2 cups Seasoned Bread Crumbs

2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon Salt

Pepper, to taste

Paprika, to taste

Garlic, one or two cloves, minced fine


Prepared (foiled and oiled) 1/2 sheet pan


Set the oven to 375.  Set out three bowls, one for the flour, one for the eggs and one for the breadcrumb mixture.

Pour flour into first bowl.

Break eggs into second bowl, add a splash of water and beat to break up whites and yolks.

In third bowl, add breadcrumbs, sugar, salt, pepper, paprika & garlic and mix well.

You can line these up either left to right or right to left, depending on ease. I’m left handed, so I work best left to right on this.

Rinse and pat dry rabbit pieces. Starting with flour, dredge each piece to coat evenly. Once coated in flour (the rabbit, not you!), move each piece to the egg wash, again coating completely. After the egg wash, transfer the pieces to the breadcrumb mixture, coating each piece evenly. When finished, move each piece to the foiled and oiled pan, spacing evenly on the pan. I’ve found that if you keep one hand “wet” and one hand “dry”, it won’t clump up your hands too much moving all the pieces through this car wash of ingredients.  Place pan in the oven for approximately 45 minutes, until all pieces are dark golden brown.


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