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Killing Our Dinner i.e. What Homesteading is Really All About

We finally did it. We dispatched, dressed, and cooked our first homegrown rabbit.

We finally did it.

We dispatched, dressed, and cooked our first homegrown rabbit.

Actually, it was Brian who did all that. I just watched. Barely.

We did this months back before we moved to our new homestead but things got crazy busy and I forgot to tell you about it.

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Big Mama

We purchased Big Mama from a breeder (she’s a Silver Fox) for $30. The breeder knew we did not have a buck so she went ahead and mated Big Mama with one her bucks the day we picked her up.

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Like clockwork Big Mama had a litter of 7 kits 32 days later. She is a dutiful mother- definitely a keeper. I would show you a picture of the cute baby bunnies but I’m trying to gain friends not lose them. Why do that, really?

Don’t get too attached

Brian and I purposely did not hang around the kits too often; we knew that would just make the deed harder. We did however pet Big Mama frequently so she would trust us and recognize our scent. “I’m not gonna hurt you little bunny,” I would say while I petted her which was fine and dandy until one day the following thought popped in my head, “I’m only going to eat your babies.”  Sorry Big Mama but this mama has to eat!

Doing the deed

Rabbits are best harvested at 8 weeks because any growth after that and the feed to meat ratio tapers off. But, Brian was putting the deed off so the bunnies (he “dispatched” two) were 10 weeks old. He was majorly stressing it. After all, you are killing an animal for sustenance, something no one should take lightly.

According to Brian the hardest part of the whole deal was the anticipation of that first shot. He developed a process to ease the blow (at least for him) in which he would place the rabbit in a box, shoot it with a pellet gun right between the ears, then close the box and wait. That’s all I want to say about that part.

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Dressing the rabbit was surprisingly easy and quick. Brian cut right behind the neck, grabbed both sides of the now open skin and pulled in both directions. The skin pulled off with very little resistance. To take the innards out, Brian slit the stomach being careful not the cut open the intestines and pulled out the organs. He periodically rinsed the rabbit during the whole process to keep the fur down. He put the heart, liver and kidneys in a clean bowl and began to cut the meat. He cut off the front and back legs, filleted off the tenderloins, and removed the flanks.

As you can see, roughly two pounds of clean white meat comes off one rabbit. I have not tasted the kidneys yet but the liver is great. It is very mild. I am starting to replace chicken liver for rabbit liver in recipes. I even put some in a smoothie for a raw liver mango lassi. Talk about an energy rush.


 The first taste

A few days later we cooked up the rabbit to finally see for ourselves what it tasted like. Brian seasoned it and sautéed it. Honestly, it was a little tough and to me was the equivalent of sautéing a chicken thigh; we normally grill, bake, or deep fry chicken thighs. The only pieces that cooked up quickly and became tender were the tenderloins.

The flavor was clean, mild, and could even be described as bland. It seems to be a meat that would take on any flavors you were cooking with it. I’m excited to try more recipes to really see what rabbit meat is capable of.

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In all, killing an animal for nourishment is a somber and humbling experience. It’s not a pleasant process but has a pleasant outcome (dinner on the table).

Do you have any experience with home butchering? Share below and thanks for reading.

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on July 20th, 2014

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