Rabbit is a great starting point for cooks looking to extend their repertoire to butchering. What’s more, buying a whole animal from your butcher or at the farmers’ market (or online) and breaking it down yourself is more economical, because you pay more per pound when someone else does the work.
Lay the rabbit on its back. Using kitchen shears, cut the breastbone to split the rib cage. Todd Coleman Rest rabbit on its side. Holding one hind leg, cut above and around the bone where it attaches to the body. Todd Coleman Pull the leg toward you and continue cutting along the joint to help release the leg. Todd Coleman Sever the flesh to detach the leg. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to detach the other hind leg. Todd Coleman Find the space where the backbone meets the pelvis, slice through the flesh there, and use both hands to twist and detach the pelvis from the rest of the body. Todd Coleman Starting at the top of the rib cage, run your knife down one side of the rib cage to detach the upper rib bones from the breast. Continue cutting downward to detach the fleshy loin that runs alongside the upper backbone. Todd Coleman To detach the more deeply embedded lower ribs from the flesh, find each rib with your fingers and use your knife to carefully release the ribs one by one. Repeat steps 6 and 7 on the other side of the rib cage. Todd Coleman With the rear of the rabbit facing you, butterfly the fleshy tenderloin surrounding the lower backbone to expose this part of the backbone Todd Coleman Keeping the tenderloin attached to the rabbit, cut along the backbone on each side to connect with the cut you’ve already made along the upper loin. Todd Coleman Follow the backbone with the knife to release the tenderloin, but do not cut all the way through. Repeat down the other side. Todd Coleman Rotate the rabbit so that the forelegs are facing you. Starting at the base of the backbone, run the knife under the backbone toward you, vertebra by vertebra; use the other hand to pull the backbone away from the flesh as you go. Todd Coleman Sever each foreleg from the carcass by slicing at the shoulder joint. Debone the meat from all four legs. Use the leg meat as well as the loins and the flesh attached to them to make the stuffed rabbit with cabbage; use the rib cage, backbone, pelvis, and leg bones to make a stock. Todd Coleman