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Easy Baked Barbecue Rabbit

Sarah Hamelman

Baked Barbecue Rabbit is the recipe I always recommend for homesteaders who are trying rabbit for the first time, whether it’s a whole rabbit purchased from a local farm or the first rabbit they raised on their own.

How to Cut a Whole Rabbit

While you can bake the rabbit in one piece, it is easier to cook thoroughly and share the pieces if it is cut into seven relatively equal pieces.

Starting with a very sharp knife makes this process much easier.

  1. Lay the rabbit carcass on its stomach and flatten the forelegs and hindlegs. This makes it easier to slice into, and allows you to better feel where the bones are.
  2. Slice the hind legs off. Run your knife between the tailbone and the thigh bone. You are cutting through the thigh joint. You will slice through a major artery which may be tough if your knife isn’t sharp. If this is tough for you, twist the hind legs in a circular motion until they snap free.
  3. Feel the shoulder blades, and then run your knife between these blades and the chest. The front legs are usually the easiest part of the rabbit to remove.
  4. Slice off the “flaps” of meat that covered the stomach. You can accomplish this with a knife or a pair of kitchen shears.
  5. Lay the rabbit on its back, cut up beneath the ribs, and then use a heavy meat cleaver to chop through the spinal cord in one hard whack. Try to avoid sawing this area so you don’t have sharp little shards in the meat. You can bake the ribs for BBQ ribs, or set them aside to make bone broth if you don’t like picking through smaller bones at dinner.
  6. Chop through the spine once more, this time in the center of the “backstraps” or tenderloin. This will give you two equal pieces of the back. As the name suggests, this cut of meat is the most tender.

BBQ Rabbit Ingredients

  • 1 whole rabbit – usually 3 to 6 pounds, depending on age and breed. This is closer to 1 pound if wild.
  • 1 c peanut oil (or another oil of your choice that will not smoke at 350F degrees)
  • 1/2 c BBQ sauce of your choice. I prefer Kinder’s Gold or Kinder’s Hickory Brown Sugar.
  • Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Garlic Powder, etc. to taste. Approximately 1 tbsp each.
  • 2 pints (1/4 gallon) leftover pickle juice (optional)

BBQ Rabbit Instructions

  1. (Optional) marinade the rabbit in leftover pickle juice for anywhere from 30 minutes to a day in the refrigerator. This brine or marinade tenderizes the meat and adds a depth of flavor (it will not make it taste like pickles).
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  3. Heat the oil in a medium to large skillet or pan over low heat (propane stove) or medium to high heat (all other stove types) for five to ten minutes.
  4. Carefully add the rabbit pieces to the pan and season with salt, pepper, and other seasonings of choice. Allow them to sear and lightly brown on each side, approximately three to seven minutes on each side.
  5. Add a generous glaze of your favorite barbecue sauce to the top of the rabbit pieces. I like to add three layers. Place the entire pan in the oven.
  6. Bake for approximately thirty to sixty minutes. This bake time can vary considerably depending on the size of the rabbit, the type of pan used, and your elevation. Look for an internal temperature of at least 160F degrees. Avoid overcooking the rabbit, as this causes dryness and toughness. Using the pickle juice brine makes it more forgiving and less likely to be tough or dry.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool for about five minutes before serving.
  8. Enjoy! BBQ rabbit goes well with baked potatoes, buttered rice, sweet corn, green beans, blistered bell peppers, easy brussel sprouts, baked beans, mac and cheese, or a fresh salad.

Final Thoughts

Thank you so much for reading our recipes, and double thanks if you take the time to make it. I would love to see your pictures and hear about any changes you made to make it your own.

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