“At my family’s camp just up the Red River from Simmesport in east-central Louisiana’s Avoyelles Parish, we mostly hunt deer and squirrel. Every now and then the occasional wild turkey shows up. Perhaps even more elusive around those woods is the sight of a cottontail rabbit. Much like you would expect from Br’er Rabbit himself, the cunning bunnies prove difficult to target, even with a trusty 12-gauge shotgun.
Of course, it’s a little unwise to shoot a rabbit with a rifle because you run the risk of scaring away any nearby deer. Because of that, rabbits are more a fall delicacy, rather than in the cold of winter when deer are on the move. Thankfully, a lot of Louisiana markets keep farmed rabbit in stock all year long. When we do happen to score a rascally rabbit, the conversation always turns to dinner that night. We know we’re in for a treat!
Typically, our rabbit cooks down in a stew of potatoes and carrots. Sometimes we braise it in a fricassee. However, one of my favorite ways to eat a rabbit is fresh off a hot grill.
The rabbit cooks up nicely, keeping the flesh firm, yet tender. Each section boasts unique textures as you move from a leg to the loin. Wash it down with a little white wine or a cold, locally brewed beer, and you’ve got quite a pairing on your hands.” -Jay Ducote
- 1 (3- to 4-pound) rabbit, cut into 8 pieces
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs, fresh thyme sprigs
- In a large bowl or gallon-size resealable bag, place rabbit pieces.
- In the work bowl of a food processor or the container of a blender, combine thyme, rosemary, garlic, oil, lemon zest and juice, and honey; process until smooth. Pour marinade over rabbit; cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat (350° to 400°).
- Remove rabbit from marinade, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reserve marinade. Grill rabbit legs for 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Add loin and ribs; grill 20 minutes more, continuing to turn all pieces occasionally and brushing with reserved marinade. Garnish with rosemary and thyme, if desired.