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95 responses to “How to Cut Up a Rabbit”

  1. Paula

    Thanks for this! It looks like a lot of work, but someday it may be worth it if all you have between you and the wolf at the door is a rabbit raised at home! Or shot in the field….

  2. Albert Quackenbush

    Oh yeah! This is something I have been thinking about for a while, but never asked. Hank, thanks for sharing! Going to do some more rabbit hunting this year and this will be an excellent guide.

  3. Tovar

    Hey, Hank – Thanks for the detailed step-by-step approach. I’ll review your pointers next time I get a snowshoe hare!

  4. Bpaul

    Paula took the words out of my mouth — thanks for this. I never paid enough attention to the silverskin, for that alone this is a huge help to me. And to know that the fat is bitter, which I suspected but didn’t know.

    We are going jackrabbit hunting in … less than 24 hours, so this was especially timely.


  5. Matt Ames


  6. Josh

    Good stuff.

    Is Italy eating rabbits or hares?

    My fried anything recipe is now with homemade yogurt instead of buttermilk. It sticks better for me. Tilapia has been particularly good this way.

  7. Laura

    I love the final picture – deconstructed reconstructed rabbit.

  8. Kevin Adams

    Looks indeed quite a bit more tricky than a chicken. I like rabbit though so maybe I should give it a try. Not sure if a lot of places sell whole rabbits here (Belgium), but there must be…

    Just seeing your Global knife already makes me want to put mine to work again. 😉

  9. pip

    Wow. I think that is TOTALLY impressive. Anyone who can butcher well is a bit of an artisan, I reckon. Fantastic photos too!! Really awesome post!!! Thank you!

  10. Jen

    That was a great tutorial. I’ve been wasteful with my wild rabbits, as I make my first cut below the ribs and discard the front altogether. Never thought of rabbits as having belly meat / bacon.

    The flesh on a domestic rabbit looks very different in colour and looks meatier than its wild counterpart. Chickeny. Thanks for the KFR recipe too.

  11. Carol

    I love rabbit–don’t hunt so have to buy domestic rabbit at an *outrageous* price–and want to pass along a suggestion about the belly meat. If you want to serve it as an additional “cut”, roll each flap up like a jelly roll, perhaps with a strip of fatty bacon or a piece of scallion in the center, and secure it with toothpicks or kitchen twine (or, in one case where I had neither, a long piece of green from a scallion, blanched and cut into thinner strips–ties like string if you’re careful and survives the cooking process, which for me is usually braising). I love the kidneys and liver as a cook’s treat!

  12. Karen

    Great tutorial, Hank… thanks!

  13. matt

    fantastic stuff. The best walk through of breaking down a rabbit that I have ever seen.

    I have only done this a few times in my life and frankly no where near as elegantly as you have here. I do certainly remember all that darn silverskin though!

  14. Joshua

    Hey, I still like tilapia. Just think what all those plants eat that we eat!

  15. Heather

    I thought the kidneys were only there (in whole, domestic bunneh) to assuage doubts in the buyer that what they are buying is, indeed a bunneh. I heard a rumor once that mini poodles have eerily similar anatomy to a rabbit, and were often sold as such to unwary customers until a crackdown from the USDA required kidneys – positioned differently in canids than in leporids – be left in place.

    Anyways, I never thought rabbit kidneys were much for eating.

  16. Dan Solberg

    This is great! Thanks Hank, you’ve saved me hours, now I can direct all my rabbit break down questions from customers to your site for the step by step. The fried rabbit looks great also. I do have to disagree with one thing though – although rabbits feed to meat ratio is lower than chickens the feed cost is extremely lower than chicken feed ( being mostly dried alfalfa). In my research I have found that one possible reason that they have gone out of favor is that they were associated with deppression era food – cheap, and easy to raise. When times got better people still associated them with “cheap food”.

  17. Suburban Bushwacker

    ‘A lot of people ignore this part, but if you think about it, it’s rabbit bacon! And who doesn’t like bacon?’

    Nice line

  18. Holly Heyser

    Dan, interesting point. I’ve certainly found that attitude toward venison among some families who had to hunt deer to eat during the Depression – they couldn’t wait to get away from it. Fascinating how our attitudes toward the meat affect flavor…

  19. Lynn

    Funny, had a conversation about rabbit at dinner last night- how it is so wonderfully tasty yet we rarely eat it. Can you recommend the best source to purchase rabbit in the Sac area?

  20. Laurie

    The photos are especially helpful to me…thank you so much for a very informative blog post! I raise meat rabbits in my backyard, but have not perfected butchering yet. Now I have a better idea of what I am doing.

    Thanks again!

  21. Black Ale and Ginger-Fried Rabbit « Edible Aria

    […] up a rabbit in the usual manner and place it in a glass dish.  Add enough black ale and ginger to cover, wrap loosely and […]

  22. them apples

    Breaking down a rabbit isn’t that hard. It’s trickier than doing the same to a chicken, but that’s only because you’re probably more used to working with chickens.

    And the meat? Oh, the meat! Wonderful, gamey, rich, tender.

    I made a confit of rabbit, cooking the jointed meat in goose fat with garlic, bay and rosemary, slowly, for hours. It was delicious as it was, but then I rolled it in breadcrumbs and deep fried it, which made it truly out of this world.

  23. Gin

    It wasn’t until after I married my first husband that I learned the family lived by “if you catch/kill it, you dress it.” At 18 because I hunted and fished with my husband, I was forced to learn the art of dressing deer, rabbits, quail, doves, squirrels and all manner of freshwater fish. One thing I learned about wild rabbits is that the meat is far tastier if is deboned. Except for the forelegs, it really isn’t all that hard to do. If you haven’t tried treating it that way, by all means do. You’ll be amazed at the difference.

  24. Bunny Bourguignon | Endless Simmer

    […] online for instructions on how I to go about cutting this up. My savior came in the form of Hank Shaw’s, Hunter Angler Gardner Cook website and his how-to guide in cutting up a rabbit. Hank, I owe you a […]

  25. Rabbit & Mennonite Sausage Paella | The Omnivore's Delight

    […] stock, and the organ meat for another try at Black Mission Fig & Rabbit Pate.  I used these instructions on how to butcher the rabbit, and the general recipe that follows is an adaptation of the […]

  26. domenicacooks

    Hank, I used your instructions to prepare my rabbit for ragu (after cutting it up I browned the pieces in oil etc.). Simple & clear, with great photos to illustrate & great attention to detail. Thanks!

  27. Erin

    Thank goodness for you. I decided to be adventurous but I’m squeamish, and needed direction!

  28. Newly Awakened

    I raise domestic rabbits and luckily haven’t seen near the silver skin as shown here. I got my feed:meat ratio to $2.46/lb on my latest batch of rabbits. Not too shabby. Rabbits are easy, fun, and sweet to take care of. It sure beats getting bit or kicked as can happen with other animals. Plus the do make great pets if you are so inclined. One thing about chickens is the eggs. That makes a big difference with someone choosing that animal over rabbit. With rabbits you get the pelt. After the fur industry died back, so went the rabbit production numbers. Rabbit meat has more protein, less cholesterol, less calories, and less water than any other meat.

  29. FoodiesHeaven

    Great article on the highly under rated and under used rabbit, we should eat more of this fantastic meat.

  30. Steve

    I noticed in your instruction that you did not discuss the dangers of tularemia. It is rare, but rabbits can contract the disease and pass it on to humans. The signs of tularemia are: a rabbit acting strangely (lack of fear, acting tame), and when dressing, check the liver and spleen for lesions and white spots, and these organs also may be enlarged. Also, make sure to cook rabbit meat thoroughly and wear gloves when dressing, as the disease is transmitted by bacteria.

  31. Easter Bunny with Carrot, Watercress, and Microgreens Salad » Via Viands

    […] a quick rabbit anatomy lesson courtesy of the inimitable Hank Shaw, a quick browning in butter (we’re so going straight to […]

  32. Birthday Dinner: Rabbit Lyon Style | ma vie en food

    […] 3 pounds rabbit, cut into pieces (if rabbit isn’t already cut up, check out this great tutorial from Hank Shaw at Hunter Angler Gardener Cook) […]

  33. conejo en chile | pickle and dwight

    […] you instructions, as those are all over the web. i used a little help from one my favorite blogs, hunter angler gardener cook. all butchered ready to […]

  34. George Lang

    I’m a hunter in Australia and the properties i look after have lots of rabbits, thanks for the instructions and the recipe

  35. Geschmortes Kaninchen mit Pfifferlingen « Kitchen Desasters

    […] Kaninchen, ohne Kopf, in Portionen zerlegt (eine super Anleitung dafür findet ihr bei Hank Shaw von Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook) 400g frische Pfifferlinge 20g getrocknete Steinpilze, in 500m heißem Wasser eingelegt 200g […]

  36. One Acre Farm

    Thanks so much for the great tutorial! This will make my butcher process much easier…I had it *almost* right…LOL!

  37. Peter Manton

    Thank you very much for this very helpfull info.
    My customers will benifit big time from the above!
    Best Regards

  38. Bradley Carleton

    Very informative and helpful. One question: Can squirrel be butchered the same way? Also, I am looking for squirrel recipes. Can we use rabbit recipes the same with squirrel?

  39. Enrique

    This was so helpful, grilling my first rabbit today and didn’t want to ruin it with bad butchering. Thanks!

  40. Alex

    excellent directions – Thanks much

  41. Buying Meat in France – Le Lapin | Brunette à Bicyclette

    […] if you happen to wind up with a whole rabbit, Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook has a great post with helpful pictures to get you started. Rabbit terrines and rillettes are also really common, not […]

  42. Travis

    Wonderful post. I feel Skining and gutting the rabbit is far easier than plucking the chicken. But when cutting up, your right the chicken is easier. So I would say it pans out. The one thing I thought I would add, is if you are making Sausage with domestic rabbit. When deboning you can grind up the fat, skin, liver, heart, meat all togeather. And we don’t notice any different flavor and it makes it easier, less cutting. But if you are frying the rabbit this is the way to go!

  43. don

    is this something an absolute beginner can accomplish successfully?I have cleaned/ filleted fish for yr.s but have never attempted a mammal. As a child my Great Grandmother (Serbian) prepared domestic rabbit often and have always wanted learn to prepare them myself.

  44. Erica

    Thank you for posting this great info! You just saved tonight’s dinner. I bought a rabbit at the Farmer’s Market just to try something new, not realizing I’d have to cut it up myself. Great instructions!

  45. Dave

    Great site!

    I just bought a .32 flintlock specificaly for hunting rabbits and squirrel. Reading this has got me thinking about raising meat rabbits. We already have chickens so rabbits would give a welcome change in diet.

  46. Rabbit Ragu - The 365 KitchenThe 365 Kitchen

    […] Reserve the belly so that you can use for another dish, you’ll see one shortly actually.  Hank Shaw has an excellent reference on how to do this.Heat a heavy bottomed pot on medium-high heat and add in about 2 tbsp of olive oilSeason the rabbit […]

  47. Farm to Table: Rabbit Stew « STARCH: a gastroblog

    […] 1 rabbit, cleaned and cut into pieces  How to Cut Up a Rabbit […]

  48. Dominique & Sean

    Just used your tutorial to cut up a rabbit from the market and the instructions and photos were spot on. Thanks so much!

  49. Jenny’s Hare Pie from Voyager « Outlander Kitchen

    […] the pie filling.  Trim and cut up the rabbits into “collops” as described here.  Including the belly meat, you will have 10 pieces.  Flatten with a meat tenderizer, then season […]

  50. My first rabbit |

    […] realized all that about halfway through cutting a whole rabbit into serving pieces on Saturday. Even though I’d never done it before, I found myself […]

  51. es-mi-dio-primero

    !Gracias! Thanks to you, I pieced the rabbit I bought.

  52. Costs of raising rabbits |

    […] borrowed the picture from Hank Shaw’s post on “How to Cut Up a Rabbit” – a very informative article on the process. Thanks to Hank for putting the effort in. Photo […]

  53. Sarah Commerford

    Okay – got the squirrel plus your recipe for Spanish Style Squirrel Stew. Now, to attempt cutting the little critters up. They’re red squirrels – really small. Hoping I don’t hack a finger off in the process. Love your website!

  54. Girl43

    Wanted to thank you for a great step by step rabbit breakdown. I have never done one and I cannot wait to grill it. The grain of the meat is beautiful but that silverskin has got to go…tedium. I’m sure the results will be worth it and I intend to visit your site again and again as I become more “meat independant”.

  55. Greenwood Nursery

    When I googled rabbit recipes this morning, I didn’t expect to find your post on how to cut it up, too. I’ve printed it out and it will be a great help. Though I’ve had rabbit in restaurants, this is my first time to prepare and I acquired it by accident. We’ve had several rabbits getting into our rabbit proof, or so we thought, fenced container yard here at the nursery. I have several dedidcated hunters on staff so the rabbits didn’t stand a chance. But…I am excited to prepare my first rabbit dish tonight. I’m leaning towards a mustard dish to cut the gaminess. Fingers crossed. Thank you for the post.
    – Cheryl

  56. Braised Wild Rabbit « One Messy Kitchen

    […] this goes for store bought rabbit too, as I’ve only seen them available whole. This link on how to cut up a rabbit is extremely […]

  57. josh

    What brand and size cleaver did you use?

  58. Barbecue Rabbit

    […] out to be far easier than I anticipated – there’s an excellent step-by-step tutorial here.  One thing to be aware of is that Hank is cutting up a wild rabbit that he has skinned and […]

  59. PepeGraves

    Thanks for all the info about the silver skin…Now all I need is a rabbit to practice on…

  60. pam slade

    Wonderfrul detail. I’ve given up on removing all silver skin, but am really stuck on the internal organs. I need help on how to remove these without damage, whether I can eat them (after all chicken livers and lamb’s hearts are OK)I understand there’s a bit I must remove because it’s bitter, but dont know really what that is?

    Thank you for giblet help!!



    Excellent with russet potatoes. OH MY!!!


    sorry. posted to wrong page. parting out the rabbit was was easy with your instructions. German stewed Rabbit was to die for. Will DEFINITELY make this again.

  63. Walter Harrill

    Pam, it’s the gall bladder you want to avoid. It is indeed bitter and will contaminate anything that the contents come into contact with.

    Finding it and removing it is easy – the gall bladder is attached to the liver. It’s a small green sack (white, actually, with potent green contacts) with a duct/tube on one end. To avoid spilling the contents, I move away (1/4″?) from the gall bladder, slice the duct through gently (don’t worry about slicing the liver), then use a fingernail to lift, pinch and pull the gall bladder away.

    I’ll go a step further than Hank on tularemia. I’m very careful to treat my wild rabbit the way I do commercial chicken (the causative agent is a bacterium, and can be found throughout the flesh), but it is just not found in domesticated rabbit (they’re a different genus/species than our wild cottontails).

  64. ken

    Great information. I miss fried rabbit as they are a bit like the quail where I am from, all but extinct. I will be looking for a rabbit after reading this. Thanks for the great writing and photos. Impressive.

  65. Crockpot Hunter-Style Rabbit Stew | Farm Food Blog

    […] noted below, I found this link for How to Cut Up a Rabbit useful, and I learned a new term, silver skin. I had dealt with this thin connective tissue on beef […]

  66. Silk Route: China, Peanuts and a Guy Named Hank | OlyEats

    […] the rabbits. You can cut up your rabbits, or you can just chop them in half with a cleaver — you’re going to pull off the meat anyway. […]

  67. Braised Rabbit

    […] The trouble with rabbit is the lack of accessibility and therefore they are usually fairly costly. if you are lucky enough to find them at your local butcher shop or farmer’s market, try to pick up a whole rabbit rather than one that is pre portioned. Butchering the rabbit, especially for this recipe is easy but if you need further guidance, check out the video linked here.. rabbit butchery. […]

  68. Slow-cooker Rabbit and Veggies (and an account of my first slip) | transgustatory

    […] I got a whole rabbit for this process, and proceeded to cut it according to the directions in one of my favorite books, On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. For anyone who is not familiar with this process and who don’t have a copy of On Cooking, the process is well-described on a variety of websites, including this one ( […]

  69. Squirrel! | thecookhousegarden

    […] 3 squirrels, cut into serving pieces […]

  70. Week 12 Notes | spatialecologist
  71. Rabbit Recipe | Culinarium


  72. chris

    Is there a video of this? I haven’t had rabbit in over 25 years.

    I do not hunt but would love to know when it is safe to eat wild rabbit/hare here on LI? What about squirrels? (best time to hunt for ediblness. What about rabies?

    A reasonably powerful air rifle will suffice. You mention all the ethnics that ate rabbit in the description except Italian. While my immediate family did not eat them, I assure you many many many others did. Chicken Cacciatore is nice with wabbit is very nice. A older Italian gent I met said during the depression his dad would come home from a day’s foraging in NYC (YEP I SAID FORAGING) with a bag of starlings like 2-4 per person, pigeons 1-2 a person. Dark meat on a turkey he reports. We all had meat that night(s). If work was available they ate better, I have no issues except for disease and ticks/disease. Squirrel I am told, is kinda like chicken, true or not?

    I am looking for domestic rabbit that is affordable, the only ones I get around me are Chinese, and I do not trust them.

  73. Puss-In-Boots: A Study Of Culinary And Business Savvy | Eat Already!

    […] Cut the rabbit into portion pieces. If you are unclear on that, there is an excellent article about cutting the rabbit here […]

  74. Cooking a Rabbit | wildramp

    […] 1 rabbit, cut into serving pieces (see How to cut up a rabbit) […]

  75. Preparing rabbit - Homesteading Today

    […] I take as much off as I can in certain areas…chicken has it sometimes too. Here is a good link to show you how to cut the rabbit, and how to do the sliver skin or sinew. I think some people just cook it.…t-up-a-rabbit/ […]

  76. Rabbit and Leek Pie - The Armchair Anglophile

    […] The necessaries: A rabbit: If you’re getting it from a butcher, see if he or she will cut it up for you, because breaking it down at home can be a giant pain. If you get it from somewhere whole, you can find instructions for breaking down a rabbit here. […]

  77. AFTER THE HUNT: German Rabbit Stew | contendher

    […] 2 cottontail rabbits, or 1 domestic rabbit, cut into serving pieces […]

  78. Of Rabbits and Roller Coasters - Dread, Thrills, and Calm for a new Butcher - Jacqueline Church .com

    […] The IACP award winning Hank Shaw on Honest Food […]

  79. joe

    grandson shot his first bunny getting him ready for frying im having more fun than him thanks for everything

  80. Heidi

    Awesome tutorial with great pictures. I’m getting ready to cut up rabbits for the first time (we always left them whole in the past). I was a bit worried about doing it until I saw this. Thank you for this post!

  81. Down the Rabbit Hole | Sam Squared

    […] didn’t know how to cut it up but, a quick google search later, I came across Hank Shaw’s awesome step by step guide. Here’s me harvesting the “bunny bacon.” (After I seared the rabbit, I cut a couple […]

  82. Cooking a Rabbit

    […] 1 rabbit, cut into serving pieces (see How to cut up a rabbit) […]

  83. Amy

    I used this to cut up my first rabbit and it worked to a T, thank you

  84. charles whitaker

    I am an old Kentucky boy and I’ve be cleaning rabbits and squirrels a long time and I think you done the best job of showing anybody how to clean a rabbit that I have ever seen. now just post a video showing wives how good rabbits are. Thank you. Chuck Whitaker.

  85. mitch

    Great instructions – VERY much appreciated !!! Thx, Mitch

  86. HappyHax0r

    Used these instructions to prep a store bought rabbit today for supper.

    Then I dusted it with flour, browned it in butter, and threw it into a dutch oven with onions, mushrooms, a clove of garlic, salt, pepper, heavy cream, and a bit of sour cream.

    It’s been cooking low and slow in that dutch oven for a few hours now and lemme tellya, given the smell and the small taste I had of the sauce I’d defend that dutch oven with my life at this point. Braised rabbit does something real special to cream :D.

    Holy, Freakin, Crap, this smells good.

  87. Countless Blessings Farm

    Wonderful tutorial! We have been raising and selling meat and pet rabbits for several years now and always seem to have a freezer full of the culls (not pretty enough to sell). I’ve never been terribly adventurous with cooking them and always used them whole. Just the other day we had to send two “problem pigs” to the butcher and needed to make freezer space for them. The rabbits came out first! I cut up and fried 7 of them for our family of 6 (4 of them under the age of 5) according to your Buttermilk Fried Rabbit recipe fully expecting leftovers for several more meals. I served with mashed potatoes, beans, Mac-n-cheese, brown bread, and sweet tea. There were no leftovers! I’m preparing another 12 for tomorrow night’s dinner and cutting up an additional 20 for a potluck over the weekend. Definitely keeping this recipe! Thank you so much!

  88. Costs of raising rabbits

    […] borrowed the picture from Hank Shaw’s post on “How to Cut Up a Rabbit” – a very informative article on the process. Thanks to Hank for putting the effort in. Photo […]

  89. Recipe roundup | SterlingFink

    […] method. (Rabbits, like deer, and unlike chickens, have backstraps.) I followed the instructions on Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. You can save this for date night, but if you have a line on decently-priced rabbit there’s […]

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