If you are raising your own rabbits and you want to use every part of those yummy rabbits, if you are buying rabbit in the store (yikes on the price, at our local stores, you are looking at around 20 dollars per whole rabbit) you are really! going to want to get as much bang for your buck as possble.. which in my mind at least means breaking down the parts into different meals and some of those ways need to “stretch things”
So my typical breakdown is, two back legs, the back loined cut out, the two front legs, the rest of the ribs/neck and back. So each back leg is a full meal per person or if you really stretching, one full back leg would provide enough meat to use as the accent meat in a full dish. The back loins are enough to do one per person or a full stew/pan dish, the front legs will make a great fried up side dish, and or can be tossed in with the back, ribs, neck for a long slow simmer and the meat pulled off to make soup or stew or pot pie with.
On average each whole rabbit broke down will serve a min of eight meals for Dh and I and if I push it, more like ten to twelve meals for the main meats but if you are lucky enough to be self butchering, I have to remind you that there are more meals in there..
You will get a reasonable portion of blood, one very small heart, smaller lungs, 2 tiny kidneys and a lovely sized rabbit liver, you can save the heart for future use in a meat minx or dice finely and add to dishes, the lungs can be used in making a fine soup as will the blood and the kidney’s, well I don’t care for them but the old hound adores them, and the liver, o the liver.. fresh rabbit liver is one of the finest! This is my most favorite rabbit pate recipe but there are a good number of other ways to serve them up as well.
So that’s another four or five more dishes that have rabbit in them, which means that I have brought the amount of meals if you are nose to tail eating upward of 16 to 20 meals out of that single rabbit..
But I am not quite done!, don’t forget to make your rabbit belly bacon or jerky! While it can be eaten as a snack, if you want to stretch that out, make it bacon and it will be the accent for around one two person meal per side, so that’s four more dishes..
Last but not least is the Rabbit white bone broth, now I got a half stock pot of broth when the meat was fall off the bone tender and once put though the strainer, it left me with my big steel pot full, or about 20 plus cups of broth, which I am now going to simmer down by half and then either pressure can or cool and freeze for later use in those wonderful rabbit soups or stews, or it could be used to start chicken or turkey meals, anything that uses a white meat in the meal. So that would can up to about 3 to 4 pints of homemade stock broth.
The hide should not be overlooked, if its of good quality, do consider keeping it and processing it, the joy of starting with a small hide is just that.. its a small hide..
Got Chickens? Then be sure to throw the rest of the inners that you are not using out to them, as they will rip it apart and chow down, recycling that into eggs later on. In summer, they are not quite as keen as they are free roaming, they will eat the best bits and leave the rest to be picked up and composted but in winter! they go crazy for it! and there are many amuzing chicken keep away chases over the best parts.