Over the past few years there has been a significant renaissance with regard to a wide variety of game meats. This can be seen in many restaurants around the country as well as in hundreds of local butcher shops. One such meat, the diminutive rabbit, which was raised by the thousands during the Second World War is now becoming a featured meat in a wide range of dishes and when prepared properly can even be found cooking over a hot bed of coals.
Not Just a Cartoon Character
If you are like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “rabbit” is the cartoon character, or in certain cases the milk chocolate ones available during Easter. However, thanks to the hard work of many upscale restaurants, exotic or game meats have been steadily increasing in popularity. This of course includes the lowly rabbit, a meat that has long been looked down upon as old fashioned or something your grandparents ate because beef was too expensive.
Today’s rabbit is much leaner and is all-white (domestic rabbit) rather than the darker varieties of yesteryear. It has a nice mild yet slightly gamey flavor that lends itself well to a number of popular dishes such as ragu and being served deep fried in the same way as chicken. Of course it can also be served in the traditional Hasenpfeffer, which is rabbit stew that includes a laundry list of ingredients.
Rabbit on the Grill
While rabbits are traditionally boiled, fried, or baked, in recent years cooking rabbit outside on the barbecue has become very popular. The mild taste of the meat lends itself well to being cooked over a bed of hot coals or a good propane grill. The best part is that you can cook each rabbit whole rather than having to cut them into smaller pieces, which makes them easier to handle and reduces the risk of overcooking what is a relatively delicate meat.
Prepare the rabbits by soaking them in a bowl of water that has been lightly salted. There should be enough water to cover the rabbits while they soak overnight. Light the grill and wait until it is nice and hot. Rinse the rabbits thoroughly, coat with olive oil and season with garlic, salt and pepper. Cook slowly over a good fire, this can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours depending on the type of grill being used.
The rabbits are ready when the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use your favorite barbecue sauce to add extra flavor as they cook. Rabbit is the perfect choice for anyone looking for something a little different to kick off the summer grilling season.