Rabbit meat is a source of high quality protein. It can be used in most ways chicken meat is used. Rabbit meat is leaner than beef, pork, and chicken meat.
Rabbit products are generally labelled in three ways, the first being Fryer. This is a young rabbit between 1½ and 3½ pounds and up to 12 weeks in age. This type of meat is tender and fine grained.
The next product is a Roaster; they are usually over 4 pounds and over 8 months in age. The flesh is firm and coarse grained and less tender than a fryer. Then there are giblets which include the liver and heart. One of the most common types of rabbit to be bred for meat is New Zealand white rabbit.
- When roasting rabbit parts, set the oven temperature no lower than 325 °F. A 2-pound, cut-up rabbit should take approximately 1 hour to cook.
- A whole, 2- to 2 1/2-pound rabbit should take about 1 to 1 1/2 hours to roast. Stuffing it will add approximately 1/2 hour to the cooking time.
- Braising rabbit (cooking it in a small amount of liquid in a covered pan on the range or in the oven) also takes about 1 hour. Rabbit can be broiled about 15 minutes on each side.
- For safety, cook rabbit to an internal temperature of at least 160 °F. The use of a food thermometer is recommended to make sure that your rabbit is safe to eat.
- It is safe to cook frozen rabbit in the oven or on the range or grill without defrosting it first, although the cooking time may be about 50% longer.
- Do not cook frozen rabbit in a slow cooker; thaw first. Cut whole rabbits into smaller pieces so heat can penetrate the meat more quickly.