FRESH OR FROZEN
The choice is yours. The general view of the public is that frozen meat has been put in its frozen state as it has already reached the point of not being yesterday catch. With rabbit meat, this is all but true.
CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING WHEN YOU HAVE A CHOICE
FOR FROZEN PRODUCTS
- Special processes are followed at certified facilities to make sure that the meat is preserved as fresh as possible. This effectively means that your frozen rabbit could pretty well be fresher when properly thawed than the one you bought fresh at a retail outlet.
- Fresh rabbit will be likely available only from selected outlets or on order. Frozen however is more convenient and as the difference in flavour or texture from a fresh or properly thawed rabbit goes undetected, it really is a matter of preference and availability.
- The fat content of A-grade rabbit meat is so low and isolated that very little meat is in contact with the fat. The composition of the fat is also unique, and in most cases, it is the fat that effects the quality of the meat in general first when frozen for long periods among meat products.
- Coniglio only freeze freshly dressed, unprocessed portions and cuts, for your convenience.
FOR FRESH PRODUCTS
- If you have ordered or purchased a fresh rabbit, put it in a refrigerator as soon as possible so that the product can stay below the safe temperature range until you are ready to cook. This is exactly the same as with chicken and fish or any meat product and being rabbit not needing any other special treatment than the ordinary.
- Fresh product should be vacuum packed to prolong shelf life unless it is from a butcher that has specially portioned or marinated it for you.
AN HOUR BEFORE COOKING FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS BELOW
- Wash your rabbit or portions under cold running water. If you have a whole rabbit, portion it first and then wash with cold water.
- Shake excess water off and pat dry with suitable kitchen towel.
- Place the rabbit whole or portions in a glass bowl with a lid and return to the refrigerator or leave out 15-20 minutes to get up to room temperature just before cooking.
- If you were planning to marinate or flavour your product, do this with step three.
- If you are planning to cook without marinating it the next day, you may add some olive oil to the glass bowl to ensure the meat does not start to dry out in the refrigerator.
MARINATING RABBIT MEAT
FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS BELOW
- When cooking rabbit as part of a recipe in cooking juices, it does not need to be marinated.
- Grilling or braaing would require some marinade like with all other meats especially if you are planning to use dry cooking methods.
- When marinating use non reactive bowls, glass or plastic, some marinades may react with the steel and influence the flavour of the meat.
- Be sure to know the appropriate marination time required for the specific portions or cuts.
BRINING RABBIT MEAT
Brining is a wonderful technique that aids the chef or home cook to produce succulent meat from dry cooking methods, especially grilling, braaing or barbecuing. Brining aids rabbit meat which is a lean meat to stay succulent with added flavour on the grill. See our brining section to discover and apply this technique to your grilled rabbit.
COOKING METHODS AND TIMES *
- When roasting rabbit meat set the oven temperature no lower than 163 °C. A 1 kilogram, cut-up rabbit should take approximately 1 hour to cook.
- A whole, 1 to 1.5-kilogram rabbit should take about 1 to 1.5 hours to roast.
- When stuffing rabbit meat it will add approximately a half hour to the cooking time.
- When braising rabbit meat by 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.
- It is recommended cooking rabbit to an internal temperature of at least 72 °C.
- 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.
SAFE STORAGE *
- Take rabbit home immediately from the grocer and refrigerate at 4.5 °C or below.
- Use it within 2 days or freeze at -18 °C. If kept frozen continuously, it will be best for 12 months.
- It is safe to freeze rabbit in its original packaging.
- For prolonged storage, over-wrap for long-term storage. For best quality, use whole frozen rabbit within a year; pieces within 9 months.
- Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours after cooking.
- Use within 3 to 4 days or freeze. Use frozen, cooked rabbit within 4 to 6 months for best quality. Reheat leftovers to 74 °C.
*Information was provided by the National Department of Agriculture in the United States also know as USDA.