Shredded Jackrabbit

5 from 11 votes
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A plate of shredded jackrabbit with some rabbit quesadillas and salsa.
Photo by Hank Shaw

If you learn no other jackrabbit recipe but this one, you could do a lot worse.

Basically this is a riff off my venison barbacoa recipe, but, interestingly, it’s based on a real dish in Sonora, Mexico. I happen to have a cool little book called Recetario Indigena de Sonora, a Spanish language collection of recipes from the indigenous people of the Sonoran Desert.

In this book is a recipe for barbacoa de liebre, or jackrabbit barbacoa. Makes sense, since the Sonoran Desert is the home of the largest jackrabbit in the Western Hemisphere, the antelope jackrabbit. This bad boy can grow to 10 pounds and is common in central southern Arizona all the way down to Nayarit, Mexico.

I got the antelope jackrabbits for this recipe on a recent trip to Arizona, and I made this recipe at hunting camp with Randy Newberg; we talked about jackrabbits on his podcast a while back.

Shredded jackrabbit recipe
Photo by Hank Shaw

Sonora also happens to be home to the more common black-tailed jackrabbit, which is our local jack here in Northern California. Those of you living in cold climates have the white-tailed jackrabbit, which can weigh almost as much as an antelope jackrabbit. Any hare or jackrabbit species will work here.

And even though this is a jackrabbit recipe, you can use most red meats here. Yes, red. Jackrabbits have red meat, not white like actual rabbits. Don’t use rabbits here. Sub in lamb, goat, beef, venison, woodchuck, raccoon… you get the point.

Look at this jackrabbit recipe as a starting point. Once you have it ready, you will want to eat it as a taco, or in a burrito, or as the filling for tamales or any other filled dumpling, like bierocks, or Swedish potato dumplings or potstickers. Or you can just serve shredded jackrabbit over rice or potatoes.

Me? I prefer it on real deal, Sonoran style flour tortillas.

Shredded jackrabbit recipe
5 from 11 votes

Shredded Jackrabbit

This is a variation on my Venison Barbacoa recipe, and you can feel free to tinker with it as you see fit. Use the shredded meat in tacos, burritos, over rice or in tamales. It will keep in the fridge a week and it freezes well.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 6 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours


  • 2 to 3 pounds jackrabbit or hare pieces
  • 1 pint crushed or pureed tomatoes
  • 1 quart stock, any kind
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 large white onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, Mexican if possible
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon ground ancho chiles (or chili powder)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar, any kind
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil


  • Put all the ingredients except the lard into a large, heavy lidded pot like a Dutch oven. Bring it to a bare simmer, cover and cook gently for 2 to 5 hours, depending on how old your jackrabbits were.
  • When the meat is falling off the bone, pull it out of the pot and shred it into a large bowl. Discard the bones.
  • Add the lard and a ladle of the cooking liquid to the meat and mix it all well. Serve hot on tacos, in burritos, or whatever. If you want, you can also lay the meat all out in a large frying pan and sear it crispy on one side, then serve it.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!



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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I just cooked this recipe with the legs and thighs of a big rooster I butchered. It was excellent. Stronger meat like a jackrabbit would have been better, but the spice mix is perfect. I’ll use it again for sure.

    1. Blake: Thanks for the catch. I add about a quart of stock or water when I make this. It was not clear in the recipe. I have fixed it.

  2. Made this tonight. Bad news for the local jackrabbits because this is going to be made again. A real hit for the entire family, especially with Hank’s homemade flour tortilla recipe. I had never had jackrabbit, never made tortillas. Both worked great, came out perfect and were devoured with ravenous fervor. To think of all the jacks I could have shot over the years but let the haters influence my choices. Great job, I look forward to the day I can serve this to more friends and family.

  3. Now that is what I remember from when my sister was raising rabbits. but we’d fry the loin in chunks and put the rest in spaghetti sauce for the next day. Nothing like bringing a chunk of rabbit in your school lunch. Well, a fried veal brain sandwich always got the comments. Mighty tasty, sweetbreads were also good.
    Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. Everything was consumed by someone. No vegetable waste or animal by-product was buried. Had a couple of compost piles and all was used on the farm. This was 1955-1959 just outside of D.C. We had 15 acres and all the outbuildings. 3 story plantation house. $140 a month. 4 great years. I raised a lot of chickens and sold a lot of eggs.

    1. David, thanks for your description of how you treated meat under the principle of “no waste.” It helped me to pinpoint something that has been confusing me.

      I’ve always taken parts or even whole carcasses of animals that I used for resources into the woods or marsh for other animals to finish off. It seems to me that that’s how I can best respect the animal. I live in an apartment, which means I often can’t use as much as I’d like to. Since I’m in a city, many times the carcass I’m dealing with is what’s left after taking a prime fur from an animal which was car-struck on a cold winter night. So of course, I want to give back to the wildlife who would have consumed the carcass if I hadn’t taken it from the side of the road–except, when I put it back, it’s not in an area likely to lead to the scavengers also becoming casualties of car strikes.

      What your comment clarified for me is why it bothered me to hear what hunters are expected to do with their leftovers of their (our) kills–to “dispose” of the remains, especially deer, where it’s not just a small skeleton tossed into a shallow hole in the garden to rot. Are we expected to throw what we can’t use into the municipal trash? If not that, then what? I can’t see it; incarcerating all the resources under a layer of landfill trash.

      Now I’ve realized that what the authorities are trying to avoid is a mass influx of animal “waste” at one point, in towns and cities; and the reason that would happen is that some hunters would be unlikely to return the remains to the wild area from which they harvested. I’m in the habit of doing so, finding a remote area where I know wildlife will make all but the bones disappear within a short time; just as you did when you had access to your own land.

  4. South Louisiana, if it moved you ate it. Then Red Desert, WY, same thing. Everything is edible. I’ve worked in a lot of places and if they eat it and like it, at least try it and you will gain respect. Mexico, Colombia, yes, I have eaten, asked for seconds. monkeys, Iguanas, lots of bugs, and they’re really good with beer. I fed my son iguana and monkey tacos along with his aunt and they both asked for another. Went across the parking lot and they got a cone of fried grasshoppers. Fed them grilled mackerel sandwiches that night with slaw and jalapenos. My soon to be ex showed up after her excursion, asked, where was hers. Over at your boyfriend’s. We left her in Ixtlan del Rio. Saw her in court about 2 years later. That little town has so many memories from every wife and girlfriend.

  5. My neighbor gave me a hind leg of cabron, an older goat. I used it and it was excellent. Shredded it and made flour tortilla tacos. Had various toppings and it all disappeared. People who talk about gaminess in meats other than beef and chicken, just don’t know what they’re talking about. I heard a judge on Chopped talking about the gaminess of rabbit loin. WHAT??? there is no gaminess in rabbit and I’ve eaten more than you have, my sister raised rabbits. The mildest of all meats. I always stole the kidneys for the flavor. Lamb has no gaminess, raise it up to a year and butcher that out. It will rival the finest beef. Technically mutton, butcher a day short. A beef grower friend once ate a perfect mutton Porterhouse, ate the whole thing and to this day refuses to admit it was sheep. That was 43 years ago and I’ve nailed him repeatedly, sometimes do baby beef and other times mutton. He always prefers the mutton, more flavor. Don’t let your prejudices overpower your tastebuds.

  6. Hi Hank,

    As a young boy, my dad and I hunted jackrabbits in several acres of pickleweed just east of Martinez in a place Dad called Avon Flats. I shot a single-shot .410, and Dad backed me up with an old Remington Model 11 12- gauge shotgun. We harvested many a jackrabbit there. We would take them home, hang the rabbits by one foot from the branch of an old fig tree, skin and gut them. We cut up the rabbits into pieces, browned the legs and remaining cut up parts in olive oil and garlic, then slow cooked them in home-made spaghetti sauce. After a good long simmer, the meat came out so tender, it fell off the bones. We added the meat to pasta covered with the spaghetti sauce. It was fabulous!

    1. Frank: Awesome! That’s a great memory. As for the recipe, I have a jackrabbit ragu recipe in my book Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail. Do you have it?

  7. I’ve been eating Jackrabbit for years, cut the hindquarters and loins out and the rest went to the hogs. Back in 1982 the French decided that the winter phase was going to be the fur of choice and we hunted them. Came in to Pacific Hide and Fur in Rock Springs, WY with 396 at $0.50 each. Untouched. The guy asked, who missed. Took the cash, more beer, another 400 shells. We also ate our share. Gumbo, jambalaya. If it moves, eat it. I ran into one of the high school kids skinning them out and he said by the end of that winter he was rabbited out. I said it was better than the coyotes the next year and he had to agree with me. Protein is valuable and a lot of dishes around the world just use that protein that the well-to-do don’t want. Very little that I won’t eat.

  8. I’m gonna try this next time I get one. It’s tough meat and I’ve made semi edible stews with them but this sounds yummy

  9. I would always wear heavy latex gloves while skinning and preparing any wild hare as Tularemia is endemic in wild hare populations in North America. I also prefer to blanch /preboil the raw meat in salted water with added baking soda (1 tsp per gallon of salted water) for 10 minutes, remove meat and replace water with standard court bouillon for poaching until meat is tender and ready to pull meat from bones. That pile of very flavorful meat also goes great with Moroccan style cinnamon, cloves, butter style seasonings, even wrapped in a flour tortilla or served with steamed couscous.

  10. This looks delicious and has me even more excited for my upcoming hunts in Eastern Oregon! 🙂

    What is the lard for? Why is it added at the end?


    1. Jim: You add the lard to give the dish some fat. Jackrabbit is about as lean as you can get, and you will definitely enjoy it more with some fat. That said, it’s not 100% needed. It just makes things taste better.

  11. I want your job. You always have such a good time and come up with the best recipes. I grew up in AZ and the good old boys considered jackrabbits as pests and shoot them and leave them. I shoot them, debone them, and run them through a grinder with a little beef fat. Best burgers ever. Except for javelina burgers. I have fed javelina burgers to some of the snobbiest folks you can imagine. We are talking Rancho Santa Fe and Vail CO snobby and they love them. Everyone swears they are the best burgers ever. And, like jacks, hunters aren’t crazy about butchering javelina and I always get a couple from hunter friends who will bring me a carcass in exchange for a couple of packages of burger. Long post, but wanted to say thank you.

    1. David: HAHAHAHA. I literally just finished butchering a javelina minutes before reading your comment, setting aside some specifically to grind. Serendipity!

  12. Living in the jackrabbit region (they’re so numerous here they’re listed as predators) I’ll have to give this a try. I’ve never known anyone to actually east one, reputedly as their meat is tough. Shredding makes sense.