Often overlooked, rabbit is an environmentally-friendly, easy-to-produce, yummy-to-eat local meat. Yet most of us shy away from it.
That’s because it’s not one of the Big Four (beef, chicken, pork, turkey) that we casually find in almost every supermarket. Why isn’t rabbit in your supermarket? Having tasted the succulent meat, it’s not because it doesn’t taste good.
The truth is, it’s not being mass-produced in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), so it’s just not going to find its way into major grocery stores.
But if you’re trying to source your meats from local farmers and ranchers, you’ll want to give rabbit a try.
Why is Roasted Rabbit a compelling main dish that deserves new popularity in American homes?
Reason #1 to Eat Rabbit: HUSBANDRY PRINCIPLES
For many of us, buying pasture-raised chicken is a high ideal we attain to. We have learned enough about conventional chicken farms that we now seek out meat that is raised with conscientious husbandry principles. Farmers like Joel Salatin have opened our eyes and shown us what it takes to pasture animals, grazing them on grass, allowing them to eat bugs and dandelions instead of potentially genetically modified soy and corn-based feed.
For those of us who don’t pasture our own broiler hens, we have looked for local farms from which to buy these high quality chickens. We have had to be stout of heart; for the price difference between a pasture-raised chicken and an organic chicken can be quite a jump.
HERE’S A LOOK AT THE PRICE SPECTRUM
Rocky Chickens, grown in Petaluma, CA are raised with “access” to green grass and are fed an all vegetarian diet, which can be GM sourced, but no hormones or antibiotics- about $10 a bird. (Diestel chicken has a similar profile and price point.)
Rosie Chickens, grown in Petaluma, CA are raised with “access” to green grass and are fed an organic, all vegetarian diet, which can not be GM sourced, and no hormones or antibiotics- about $15 a bird.
Local Pasture-raised Chickens, grown in our town of Eugene, OR, raised on pasture, eating bugs, dandelions and supplemented with organic, non-GM feed, and no hormones or antibiotics- about $20 a bird.
Our family of five shoots to spend $5-$11 per dinner on meat. If we buy organic drumsticks at Trader Joe’s we can actually spend as little as $5 total, with each person eating 2 or 3 drumsticks!
But I’d rather buy a pastured chicken than an organic one. I’d rather get the “giblets,” the whole bird. And I’d rather buy locally grown meat.
The price point for rabbit is no better than pasture-raised chicken, really. They can cost around $5 a pound, easily weighing in at 4 lbs. each.
I wish I could say this is an article about how to save money when buying local meat.
Instead this is an article about a great local meat to buy, why and how it makes such a delicious and fun feast; and lastly, if you have a little land and a spirit of adventure how rabbit can also be economical.
Reason #2 to Eat Rabbit: RAISING RABBITS MAKES THEM ECONOMICAL
Are you interested in raising your own rabbits? If you are, they are an efficient animal to raise for meat.
Here is a link to brief interviews with two local couples who raise rabbits mainly for their own families’ consumption: Rabbit Raising Interviews
Rabbits need to be protected from escaping and from predators. But other than this precautionary caging, they are easy to care for and, as you know, have an accurate reputation for “breeding like rabbits.”
Reason #3 to Eat Rabbit: ROASTED RABBIT TASTES SO GOOD
Our family loves roasted rabbit. We love the variety, the excitement of a new, special food; and we, of course, love the experience of picking up succulent meat and licking our fingers after an herbaceous bite.
It’s true what is said: rabbit tastes a bit like chicken. The texture and flavor have similarities. But it isn’t chicken-y. It’s rabbit!
It’s its own thing.
Here’s a link to the Eat Beautiful blog for a simple recipe for a special dinner: Roasted Rabbit Dinner
Use the rabbit carcass to make bone broth! Use the whole animal. 🙂 Here’s a link to my Eat Beautiful recipe for the best Bone Broth: Bone Broth Recipe