Cutting up a whole rabbit for braising (see The Waiting Game) requires a bit of know-how. Here are six easy steps for separating a rabbit into eight pieces.
1. Lay rabbit on its back and grasp one hind leg. Cut along seam where leg joins body, carving inward to separate thigh from tailbone.
2. Grasp foreleg on the same side; cut flush against the neck bone to sever leg. Repeat the two previous steps on the other side of the rabbit.
3. Using your fingers, locate rib bones, count up two bones from the tail, and cut between the second and third rib bones on both sides of the rabbit to release two flaps of meat on either side of the saddle, the rabbit’s loin. Using a cleaver, sever the rib cage section from the section comprising saddle and flaps, cutting through the backbone. Discard rib cage section. Sever and discard tailbone from body where it meets saddle.
4. Using the cleaver, cut saddle in half lengthwise through backbone.
5. Then make a crosswise cut, roughly at the top of the flaps, to separate the saddle section into quarters.
6. There will now be four saddle pieces of equal size, two with flaps of meat along the lower part of the loin and two loin pieces attached to the backbone.