If eating meat offends you, you may not want to read this post. Actually– if eating meat offends you, you probably don’t read this blog anyway. Continue on fellow mini farmers!
I am going to make this pretty blunt and animal meat-related graphic, especially since we just got rid of those home raised meat wimps. If you have been wondering how my first rabbit processing would go since my butchering and tanning workshop last October, then this is for you.
I have had a litter of freezer bound rabbits from Philly’s litter awaiting their fate out in the hutch. They all happen to be ruby-eyed whites (because no one wants to buy white rabbits?) which works out well when it comes to pelts. For my friend’s Easter photo shoot (Kamice’s Photographic Establishment), I took a handful of rabbits down to her shop in Columbia. Well during the first morning I noticed that one of the rabbits had chewed up its own foot pretty badly. Like down to the bone badly. Good thing I’m not inclined to keep all my rabbits because this would be a questionable pet not to mention breeder!
So little bunny foo foo’s fate was sealed that morning. I bandaged him up the best I could and made him comfortable until I took everyone home that afternoon. Rather than let him suffer, or worse, get infected, I decided that I needed to “process” him as quickly as possible. I admit, I was nervous since this was the first of my very own angora rabbits to be butchered, but it needed to be done as soon as possible.
Trevor put the rest of the rabbits back into the hutch and we kept the freezer bound rabbit out while we got the rest of the tools we needed. We got together: a pellet gun, some new crappy knives, scissors, a hose, a piece of scrap wood, and some ziplock bags. Breathe… Ok. It’s time.
With a quick shot to the head above the temple (do rabbits have temples?), he was gone. His body spasmed for a minute, but you could see in his eyes that he surely was dead. No one home. Phew! The hardest part was over and while I did feel bad that he died, I was relieved that it was quick and unanticipated by the rabbit. I transferred the carcass over to a wooden board and started processing it. I had my handy notes next to me from the October workshop incase I needed any reminders.
I made a cut in the pelt and tried to cut the head off. Now I know that a sturdy and sharp cleaver really is necessary! My knife sucked. Trevor had to use his buck knife to finally get through the other side of the skin. We removed three feet at the ankle and kept one back foot on to hang the carcass from high enough to work with. I cut the pelt around the last foot and then started to cut across to the other leg. It was certainly disconcerting to have my hands in a still-warm body. Once the pelt was off, it was smooth sailing. Then it just looked like meat. The pelvic bone was hard to break –it was so springy– but otherwise everything flopped out easily and the carcass was cleaned in a matter of ten or fifteen minutes. And that was me taking it slow and careful!
Now little bunny foo foo is properly “aging” in my refrigerator. Thursday the meat will become either rabbit tika masala or rabbit pot pie. Why doesn’t rabbit have a meat name? Like cow is beef, pig is pork, lamb is mutton, rabbit is…..?