Cutting up a rabbit for cooking or freezing
Updated: Mar 13, 2022
If you don't plan on cooking up a whole rabbit all at once in a roaster or a slow cooker, you will want to know how to properly portion out and cut up your rabbits. There are 6 main bone in portions in a rabbit. 2 front legs, 2 hind legs, and 2 side saddles. The rib cage and spine can go for stock, and then there are 2 strips of belly.
Once your rabbit is processed you will want to start with removing any silverskin or sinew still left in your rabbit. It's tougher than the rabbit meat and should be removed.
The front legs are the first section to be removed. Lay the rabbit on its side and start from underneath the leg and side your knife up, following the rib cage. The front legs are not connected by bone and will come off easily. Repeat to the other leg. You can remove and sinew and fat and discard or keep for pate or dog food.
With the rabbit on its side, you want to cut along the line of the saddle/loin and continue to the rib cage and fillet as much meat as you can off the ribs. This should be approximately where the front legs were. Again you can trim off the fat and sinew.
Next section is the rear legs. You want to start on the underside and slice along the pelvic bone to the ball and socket joint. You will then want to pop the bone out of the joint by grabbing the leg and bending it back. Once the joint is dislocated you can cut through it to finish removing the leg. Repeat the process for the other leg. The rear legs are where most of the meat is held on a rabbit.
You can use a butcher knife to remove the pelvis from the carcass and it can be kept for stock. A pair of kitchen shears can be used to snip the rib cage from the spine. Do this where the loin starts. The ribs go for stock as well.
The last thing to do is to portion the loin. You can use your knife to slice down the spine and then follow that with kitchen shears or your butcher knife.
Not everyone likes to do the loin and ribs the same way.some prefer to portion them across the spine instead of with it. It's personal preference and depends on your taste and how your planning to prepare it for your meal. You can also leave the belly meat attached to the loin, or remove it.
If you are raising your own meat rabbits you may want some whole, some portioned and some even made up into ground meat. Rabbit is versatile and can be used for any dish you would have previously made with chicken.