Rabbits: What We Bet You Didn't Know

  Today we're letting Doctor McGrillemup catch up on his thriving medical practice (mostly 'expert opinion' work at high profile malpractice cases). Instead of the good doctor we're having a chat with a rabbit expert. Teresa is the owner/operator of 'SeanAnam Rabbit Producers' in Erskine, Alberta: I started raising rabbits myself as I had originally wanted to try rabbit, and could not find any. I thought to myself that if I wanted to try it, maybe others did as well. So my quest was at hand. I finally located a breeder close by and purchased 1 buck and 2 does, (Jack, Janet and Chrissy), and the "Regal Beagle" was born. I became an ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association) member and since then I have gained more does and hope to have a steady supply of healthy, fresh, farm-raised meat for my family and others who enjoy good healthy food and are mindful of their diets. I look forward to expanding as demand indicates. Rabbits have been raised for meat for 3000 years and are easy to raise, require very little space, are quiet, and are a very healthy alternative to other meats on the market today. One 10 pound doe can produce 320 pounds of meat in a year when managed properly, which is more than one cow on a two-acre pasture. The meat is a highly nutritious product, low in unsaturated fat and it is very low in cholesterol, making it a good meat for the heart-conscious. Rabbit meat has lower sodium content than red meat but contains about the same amounts of iron and vitamins. Because rabbit meat is easily digested, it is recommended by the American Heart Foundation and the American Medical Association for people on special diets such as those with heart disease, seniors, low sodium diets, weight reduction diets, etc Rabbit is mild-flavored and fine-grained. It is often compared to chicken and is just as versatile as it too can be fried, baked, stewed, and barbecued.

Barbecues Galore: What's your favourite way to cook rabbit?

Teresa: We've got lots of great recipes but my personal favourite is oven fried, with butter, flour and parmesan cheese. It's terrific. Sort of like shake and bake but with rabbit.

Barbecues Galore: Any tips for grilling rabbit?

Teresa: It tastes great on the barbecue but it's very lean compared to beef, pork or chicken. There's no skin to help keep moisture in either. So, keep your temperatures down to medium or less. Also, a marinade really helps to retain moisture.

Barbecues Galore: Do people generally eat the whole rabbit or are there 'cuts' like with beef?

Teresa: Some prefer it whole. That's sort of the 'old school' way to cook it. Cooking it by the piece takes away the rabbit 'look' and that makes some people happier.

Barbecues Galore: What breeds of rabbits are raised for meat?

Teresa: We raise New Zealand Whites and they're likely the most common. They've got white fur and red eyes. Another popular meat rabbit is the 'Californian'

Barbecues Galore: Why do you think that eating rabbit freaks some people out?

Teresa: In the industry we call it "Easter Bunny Syndrome." Images of cute rabbits are everywhere in the media and some people just can't get past it.

Barbecues Galore: Do they really 'breed like rabbits'?

Teresa: When they're happy they do!

If you want to find out where you can get some of Teresa's Alberta raised rabbit send her an email at: seananam@explornet.com

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