Of all the recipes that I use rabbit in, this simple grilled rabbit one is my favorite. Grilled rabbit that has been brined is not only succulent, but the flavor profile is out of this world. The greatness of this recipe is it's simplicity and minimal amount of ingredients that allow the flavor of the rabbit to shine. The one caveat is that you need to brine the rabbit the day before you want to grill it to ensure that the meat has timer to absorb the flavors of the brine.
Now this recipe, although simple, contains two flavor components, the first is the brine, and the second is the marinade and basting liquid. The majority of the flavor inside of the meat comes from the brine, as any spices that are placed in the brine are pulled into the meat overnight. The marinade, is primarily used to give an additional flavor boost (flavor to the outside of the meat), and is not really used as a tenderizing agent as marinades often are.
This brine is a slight variation of my all-purpose brine used in my blog article: Brining: Adds Flavor and Juiciness to Chicken, Turkey, and Rabbit. I highly recommend that you brine your rabbit before grilling, the flavor and juiciness of a rabbit that has been brined and grilled is phenomenal compared to one that has not been brined. I promise you, if you just try brining your rabbit once, before you grill it, you will never grill it without brining again.
Grilled Rabbit Brine
8 cups (2 quarts) water
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
8 whole allspice berries
2 bay leaves dried
2 bay leaves dried
1-inch piece of cinnamon
In a large stock pot add all the ingredient except the cold water and bring to a boil, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove the stockpot from the heat and allow to cool. After cooled down completely, place in the fridge overnight for use the next day. I try and always make a brine the day before we are going to butcher. If you like you rabbit with a kick, then add two whole jalapeños chopped with seeds to the brine.
Chef's Note: I personally like the taste of this brine, my wife thinks it could use just a little less salt. I urge you to try it just as it is in the recipe, but if you discover that it does taste to salty for you, then decease the salt to 1/3 cup, or simply add an additional quart of water to the stockpot.
Once the brine has been refrigerated, add your rabbit and allow it to brine for 8 to 16 hours. I usually place the rabbit in the brine and allow it to soak overnight or until I am ready to cook it the next day. About an hour before you are ready to begin cooking, drain the brine from the stockpot and add the marinade.
Grilled Rabbit Marinade
¼ cup olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dried parsley
¼ teaspoon rubbed thyme
Combine all the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together and set aside until you are ready to add it to your rabbit. About an hour before you are ready to begin grilling, drain the brine from the stockpot and add the marinade, then prepare your grill to cook the meat.
Using A Charcoal Grill – If using a a charcoal grill heat until coals turn ash white then place meat on the grill and cook for 10 to 15 minutes per side for a total of 35 to 45 minutes or until the juices run clear. The disadvantage to a charcoal grill is that it is more difficult to cook your rabbit using indirect heat. Having the meat directly over the coals increases the risk of flair ups from any oil or fat from the meat and the marinade.
Using A Gas Grill – When using a gas grill, heat with both burners on high for 5 minutes, then turn one burner off and place the meat on the side of the grill in which the burner is off and cook for 15 minutes. Then turn on both burners and turn the meat and place it on the other side of the grill and turn the burner under the meat off and cook for another 15 minutes. Repeat as necessary until the meat has cooked for 45 minutes or until the juices run clear.
When you grill is ready, remove the rabbit from the marinade and place on a platter or baking sheet. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to kill off any unwanted bacteria from the raw meat. Once the marinade has cooked for the allotted time, remove from the heat and set aside. You will use the marinade to baste the rabbit with each time you turn it during the grilling process.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, brining adds not only flavor but moisture to rabbit. This is important as rabbit is extremely lean and can quickly dry out when grilled. Using a brine like the one in this article is the most reliable way to keep your rabbit from quickly becoming a meal that is tough and chewy and something that no one wants to eat. If you have friends and family that are skeptical about eating rabbit, this is one of the best recipes to use to introduce them to the joys of eating rabbit.
If you are wanting to learn about cooking rabbit, be sure and check out some of my other articles on the subject on our blog. And as always, if you have enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends and don't forget to send us on friend request on Facebook and Google+ so that you will not miss out on any of our new articles.
References From Our Other Blog: Culinary You:
Brining: Adds Flavor and Juiciness to Chicken, Turkey, and Rabbit.