Tuesday, 29 November 2011

How To - Joint a Rabbit

Jointing a rabbit, or any animal, is really daunting the first time you attempt to do it. It is however, something that is relatively easy to master.  It can be a little off putting when you're presented with a carcass that still has head and some organs intact, but really, this is where food comes from and we all know it, as much as sometimes we don't like to think about it too much.  

The first time you attempt to joint the rabbit, take your time with it.  Have a good look at it and become familiar with where the meat, fat and bones are located. Think about where you are going to cut before you pick up your knife and remember, it doesn't matter if you make mistakes or don't make clean cuts the first few times as practice makes perfect! If you want to cook with rabbit but do not want to joint it, ask your butcher to joint it when you buy it.  A good butcher will be happy to oblige and will not charge you for it! 

WARNING: This post contains, what some people might consider to be, graphic images.  If you are squeemish, please navigate to another page now.

What you'll need:
  • A rabbit
  • A wooden chopping board
  • A sharp knife
  • A sharp pair of kitchen shears/scissors
  • A bowl to place the pieces of meat

Step 1 - Place the rabbit on the chopping board, take the knife and remove the head from the carcass.  Depending on what you are cooking you can either keep or discard the head.  For stews, keep the rabbit, brown it off with the other pieces and let it cook in the stew as it will impart a lot of flavour.  Discard before serving.  

Step 2 - Remove the offal.  Usually, the liver, heart and kidneys will be present.  The first two can be easily removed by hand.  The kidneys should be cut out with a knife, keeping the fat that surrounds them intact.  Offal can be discarded if or used at your discretion. 

Step 3 - Place the rabbit on it's back and starting from the lower end, cut up one side of the backbone until you are level with the top of the hind legs.  Cut around the hind leg, slicing through to the joint.  Pull the leg back towards the chopping board and cut through the joint, severing the leg from the carcass.  Repeat with the other hind leg. 

The rabbit I was using was quite large and had a lot of meat on it so I decided to cut the hind legs into two pieces.

Step 4 - Cut all the way along one side of the backbone, using the knife or shears, which ever you find easier. 

Step 5 - Turn the two carcass pieces over so the fleshy side is up and remove the fore legs.  Then, score the flesh in about 2-3 places, depending on the size of the rabbit.  Evenly place these score lines as they will be the places you cut through and you want to end up with 3-4 pieces of equal size.

And that's it!!  Here are the images, the order of which correspond with the instructions above.

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