How to debone a rabbit (warning: this may disturb some people)

Well I couldn’t contain my excitement last night when I was at my local supermarket and realised they had started selling wild rabbit. Poor little Thumper has become mainstream cuisine. I was also pleased to see that he didn’t cost much more than a chicken or a couple of good steaks. Albeit, for what is traditionally known as peasant food, it’s probably on the high-end of the price scale. Having said that, if people don’t buy it, the price is not going to decrease any time soon so I’m happy to do my bit to support the local game market.

So little Thumper sat in my fridge overnight, while I deliberated and pondered over what I would do with/to him. I’ve eaten rabbit maybe twice in good restaurants but never at home, and I definitely have never used the meat myself. As I watched one of my favourite cooking movies, No Reservations (by the way, there are some major cooking mistakes in this movie that are quite funny to pick up on if you’re an avid cook) I pulled out a number of my cooking bibles, keen to get some ideas. There were recipes for braised and stewed rabbit, roasted rabbit with thyme, potted rabbit and rolled, stuffed rabbit. Some used quick cooking methods, predominately for farmed rabbit which is known to be a bit more tender and pale in colour, and there were long, drawn out stews for using wild rabbit.

You are watching: How To Debone A Rabbit

One thing I knew was that I couldn’t possibly miss out on the opportunity to debone little Thumper. So I pulled out Stephanie Alexander’s Cook’s Companion and set out for the challenge. A note to any professionals reading: please bear in mind this is my first time, with only a paragraph of text to instruct me (no pictures!) so I think a little butchery is to be expected. Here’s how it went.

First, I splayed little Thumper on my biggest chopping board. He was only small mind you and I was wondering how much meat I was going to get off him.

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Next I chopped the thighs off, which was pretty simple – a bit like doing a chicken.

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Then I turned him over and counted up to his fifth rib and cut through to the spine at this point on each side. I then turned him over and snapped his spine at the same point and cut right through creating another piece, which I put to the side to attack later in the process.

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On the bigger section, I gently squeezed each rib so it popped out of the skin, from the inside, as below, and then cut each off with scissors at the spine.

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We then flip him over and start to fillet the spine away from the flesh.

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Once I had cut it almost the whole way down, I pulled the spine away from the rest of the flesh ripping it off.

Next I grabbed the piece of meat that had the other half of the ribs and pushed each ribs so they also popped out of the inside skin (so not to tear the outside).

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I then cut these away cutting along the back bone so I was left with the two front legs and added these to the rest of my pieces.

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Following this I gave each piece a rinse to ensure there was no fluff and pat each piece dry with a paper towel. Without most of the bones, my meat came to just over 500gm.

Tucked away safely in a zip lock bag in the fridge, I took a break to come up with an amazing recipe that would justify the effort I put into simply cleaning the meat. And it most certainly won’t be a quick fry up, let me tell you…

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