Smoked rabbit cooked low and slow over applewood. This delicious wild game recipe has a rich flavor that’s elevated by the barbecue smoker.
Smoked rabbit is versatile wild game meat that can be prepared in a number of ways, from oven-baking to stewing. However, our favorite way is low and slow cooking over woodfire and smoke. It provides a rich and intense flavor that’s taken to a new level with barbecue smoking.
Rabbit is lean meat, making it rich in protein and flavor. However, this lack of fat can become a problem without the right meat preparation or cooking approach. Get it right however, and you’ll have a plate of one of the best smoked game meats out there.
Find out how to trim and brine your meat before slowly smoking it to lock in as much flavor and moisture as possible. Here’s how to smoke rabbit.
How to Buy Rabbit for Smoking
Rabbit isn’t necessarily something you see every day in the local grocery store. So, it’s important to know what to look for when you’re buying one, including:
- Consider where you are buying it. Aim for a local grocer/butcher to get the freshest meat possible. There are rabbit farms in some areas as well.
- Think about the price. This type of meat is not cheap, so you need to be prepared to pay a bit more for it.
- Raw rabbit is not always easy to find, so you may need to order it in advance. It is rare to find it at the local grocery store.
- Rabbit is also known as hare, so if you see ‘smoked hare’ on a menu or in the store, it is the same as a smoked rabbit.
Preparing a rabbit ahead of time for the smoking process is important. Thankfully, it’s easy to do. Clean up the rabbit meat and soak it in a brine made of vinegar and salt overnight to help make it tender. After brining, add some flavor with your favorite dry rub.
Best Wood for Smoking Rabbit
The best wood for smoking rabbit is applewood. However, any type of fruitwood will work well. Avoid using mesquite or hickory, as they will impart a strong smoky flavor that will overpower the meat’s natural flavor.
Times & Temperature
Smoke your rabbit meat for 1 hour at 225-250°F (107-120°C). The internal meat temperature should be 160°F (71°C) before serving.
The smoking process will take around one hour. The time depends on the size of the rabbit and the temperature of your smoker. Low and slow is the goal here!
What to Serve With Smoked Rabbit
Rabbit goes well with many sides, including roasted potatoes, grilled vegetables, or a simple salad, and pairs well with white wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. It’s a great addition to any cookout or backyard barbecue platter.
What Does Smoked Rabbit Taste Like?
Smoked rabbit tastes close to a smoky chicken with a gamier flavor. It is also much lighter than beef.
What’s the Best Seasoning for Smoked Rabbit?
The best seasonings for a smoked rabbit are paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, chili powder, and cumin. You can also use apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, or BBQ sauce to add more flavor.
- Brine bucket
- 4 rabbits giblets removed and jointed (broken down)
- 5 quarts water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup salt
- 2 tbs kosher salt
- 2 tbs garlic powder
- 4 tsp white pepper
- 3 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- Trim excess fat from jointed rabbit and rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Pour brine solution ingredients into the brine bucket. Stir until sugar and salt have dissolved.
- Place rabbit portions in the bucket. Cover and leave to brine in the refrigerator overnight.
- Remove rabbit from brine. Rinse and pat dry.
- In a small bowl, combine the dry rub ingredients. Use a fork to remove or crush any lumps that form.
- Apply dry rub to the rabbit, covering generously all over and working into any folds of crevices along the meat surface.
- Fire up the smoker to 225°F (107°C)
- Once at target cooking temperature, place rabbit portions on smoker grates. Close the lid and cook until internal temperature is 160°F (71°C), about 1 hour.
- Remove from smoker and rest for 10 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy.