Variations of brown sugar bourbon-glazed ham or rosemary-garlic roasted lamb, warm, billowy biscuits and roasted root vegetables grace traditional Easter tables, and thankfully so. If you want to go beyond the merely traditional but keep close to the holiday’s theme, consider rabbit. After learning how good they are for you and how great they taste, you may just want Peter Cottontail to ditch the bunny trail and hop on into your Dutch oven.

Rabbit is leaner than chicken, veal or turkey, with less fat and cholesterol. It has half the calories per pound compared to beef and pork and is the most easily digestible protein around. Since it’s both abundant and ubiquitous, low consumption has little to do with availability and lots to do with Thumper (a Cottontail) and Bugs (probably a Lop-Eared Gray.)

“Some people just can’t get beyond that mindset,” says Stephen Edwards. His Aspen Hill Farms in Boyne City, Michigan supplies local three- and four-star resorts and sells nationally through U.S. Wellness Meats. “I’ve had my rump chewed any number of times by people who say, ‘That’s not an appropriate food.’” He just holds his tongue and keeps his cool.

Here’s a bunch of rabbit recipes for basting your bunny.

Helpful suggestion: take your bunny to a movie before cooking him.

  1. dusanmal says:

    @#14 Not just cultural. Also a question how meat tastes which is directly related to their eating habits. Rule of the thumb – carnivores do not taste good. Yes, if there is starvation and there is nothing else you can eat cats and dogs but there is no need to eat BS otherwise. And it is not only carnivores, some waterfowl also has disgusting taste…
    As for rabbits, I miss wild ones taste from back overseas. Whatever they ate made the meat taste as it is infused with spinach. American (raised or wild) rabbit just lacks that note and is quite like chicken.

  2. morramm says:

    Lived next to a rabbit farmer in Chico. Old gal would give me a few to BBQ on the weekends. One of the best darn meats around and for me second only to squirrel!

  3. Animby - just phoning it in says:

    #22 – Morramm – Was just thinking the same thing. But was afraid of pissing off Mr Perkel. Used to go out with my trusty .22 and bring home a bag full for dinner. Didn’t care for rabbit much. Now that might have been ’cause where I lived we had lot more jackrabbits than cottontails. Now, I live in SE Asia and any small mammal might end up on the plate. Some non-mammals, too! Squid on a stick, anybody? Or, how about a bag of toasted roaches? Mmmm, salty!

  4. Nobody says:

    #23 – lobsters are just bugs with better advertising!

  5. Animby - just phoning it in says:

    Nobody – True. I admit to some apprehension years ago when visiting Louisiana and my hosts promising me a big batch of mud bugs for dinner. I had no idea what to expect…

  6. bobbo, Republicans are constantly LYING about EVERYTHING. says:

    #21–dusanmal==I agree rabbit and frogs and rattlesnake all tend to taste like chicken==probably slightly more tender and more about the sauce that goes with it.

    But, do carnivores taste different from herbivores? I’ve had bear, alligator, rattlesnake, dog==to me it was “just meat.” The whole function of metabolism is to turn the food source into protein/muscles. I’ll bet that chemically there is no difference between carnivore and herbivore and any taste difference if there is any is something else?

    How abut grass fed vs corn fed beef?

    We are in the area of “taste” and expertise in this area is more imagined than real, all too individual based. Blind taste testings show this all the time: 99% can’t tell shit from shinola whereas 1% can tell you what day it was produced.

  7. Uncle Patso says:

    One of the best things I ever ate in my whole life was my mother’s rabbit stew. Mmm-mmm!

  8. Nobody says:

    #26 – predators generally have stronger tasting meat. They typically live longer and accumulate chemical compounds from their prey.
    That’s why we like Tuna and Salmon but also why polar bears are poisonous.

    The main reason we don’t eat predators is that it doesn’t make economic sense. You grow 1000tons of grain to feed 10cows then feed those to a single lion and try and sell the lion meat for a profit!

  9. Cap'nKangaroo says:

    “basting your bunny”–that sounds like a euphemism for something.

  10. ladies watch says:

    We are in the area of “taste” and expertise in this area is more imagined than real, all too individual based. Blind taste testings show this all the time: 99% can’t tell shit from shinola whereas 1% can tell you what day it was produced.

  11. Glenn E. says:

    The whole rabbit connection to Easter, is about as sketchy as Santa Claus is to Christmas. Maybe even sketchier. Being that it’s also Spring, the rabbit is thought of as a symbol of reproduction. Blah! But commercially, it been an excuse to sell chocolate bunnies and candy filled plastic eggs.

    If Easter is really tied to any food dish, it would be fish. I’m not familiar with what kinds of fish are native to the middle east. But I suspect that almost any fish will do. Except Catfish (just because I hate it). Which the Jews probably wouldn’t have eaten, if it were available to them back in 30 AD. Catfish are probably considered “unclean” scavengers, like swine. Crabs and lobsters too. But I not going to condemn anyone who really want to eat them, for Easter.

    I have to wonder if eating Ham for Easter wasn’t something one of the Popes cooked up, a long time ago, to offend the Jews? I think a fish dish would not only be more respectful of others religious restrictions. It would also be a lot healthier. Unless it’s deep fat fried.

  12. Rich says:

    Be Bunny Safe this Easter- before you take that shot or swing that axe, check to be sure it’s not something like a small human in a bunny suit, or a plush animal, or an endangered species pretending to be a rabbit.

    To “Glenn E”: FISH? That’s no good. Ham is wonderful. I’m not of eastern origin and I eat what I want.

  13. Andrew Zimmern says:

    Eat Mo’ Bugs!