If you like your beef or lamb rare or medium-rare, you may be wondering if you can eat rabbit meat rare too. And is there a difference between wild rabbit meat and backyard rabbit meat regarding how well it should be cooked?
You can eat farm-raised rabbit meat rare or medium-rare because you know where the meat comes from and how the animal was raised, slaughtered, and stored before the meat arrived on your plate. Don’t eat wild rabbit meat rare; the meat needs to be well-cooked to kill harmful bacteria, worms, and parasites.
Looking for a more detailed answer about rabbit meat and why you should or shouldn’t cook it rare? You’re in the right place; we’ve got all the information you need.
Is It Healthy to Eat Rabbits?
It is very healthy to eat rabbits, especially those that are farm-raised. Rabbit meat is lean and nutritious. Because of a rabbit’s diet, the meat isn’t high in fat, sodium, or calories, and it is high in protein.
Thus, rabbit meat is suitable for those who want a healthy protein on their plate, to lose weight, and for those who need to limit sodium and follow a DASH diet. Rabbit meat is also keto and banting-friendly.
Rabbit meat is climate-friendly because rabbits mate like bunnies so there are many kits and thus meat in a year. Plus, these little animals don’t require as much water and feed as it takes to raise cattle before they are butchered.
Benefits of Eating Rabbit Meat
There are various benefits to eating rabbit meat.
Rabbit meat is:
- Low in calories
- Low in fat
- Low in sodium
- Low in cholesterol
- High in digestible protein
- High in essential vitamins and minerals
- Tastes like chicken, but a bit gamier
- Can be cooked in a variety of ways – sauteed, roasted, broiled, braised, and baked
- Suitable in a variety of dishes, and a good chicken substitute
- Good ratio of meat to bone, so there’s more edible meat on a carcass
Can You Cook Rabbit Medium Rare?
Essentially, you can cook rabbit medium-rare. However, it is advised to eat only farm-raised or backyard rabbit meat medium-rare. Be careful not to consume wild rabbit if it isn’t well-cooked.
Well, you don’t know how healthy wild rabbits (or hares) are, and it’s quite common for these animals to have tularemia (also called rabbit fever), which can be dangerous if a human consumes infected meat.
If a person is exposed to rabbit fever, which is present in the blood and meat of an infected animal, they can die.
Symptoms of tularemia include chills, body aches, and a fever, and these appear 2-10 days after exposure. It’s advised to get treatment ASAP since rabbit fever is fatal.
Moreover, if you consume rabbit intestines that have worms, these parasites can be passed on to you, with dire consequences.
As such, it is best NOT to eat medium rare wild rabbit meat. Instead, properly cook the rabbit meat until it has reached an internal temperature of at least 160-165℉, ensuring any and all worms and bacteria are killed. Only then will the wild rabbit meat be safe to eat.
Regarding farm-raised, high-quality rabbit meat, you can eat this protein medium rare, especially if you know how the animal was raised and slaughtered. Another vital factor is how the meat was stored before cooking.
If you know that the rabbit meat you bought comes from a reputable supplier like D’Artagnan, igourmet.com, Nicky USA, Marx Foods, or Prairie Harvest Specialty Foods, you know you are guaranteed that the rabbit meat you buy is quality and safe.
Therefore, you can cook rabbit meat from these suppliers medium-rare.
Is Rabbit Healthier Than Beef?
Technically, rabbit meat isn’t healthier than beef; they are probably equal in the health department but what you consider “healthy meat” depends on your personal needs.
If you want a protein source that is healthy for cancer, metabolic health, and cardiovascular health, then rabbit meat is best. Plus, rabbit meat has a relatively high content of vitamins B3 and B12.
In comparison, beef has more zinc and is, overall, richer in vitamin B.
Here’s a rundown comparing rabbit meat to beef:
- Rabbit meat has 1.5 times fewer calories than beef.
- Rabbit meat has a higher digestible protein content (about 1.3 times more than beef) and amino acids.
- Beef has around 5 times more fat than rabbit meat, but eating only rabbit meat and not enough fat leads to rabbit poisoning.
- Rabbit meat contains less cholesterol.
- Rabbit meat contains more iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper than beef.
- Beef has a higher zinc content than rabbit meat.
- Rabbit and beef are equal in potassium and calcium.
- Beef contains more sodium than rabbit protein.
- Beef has more vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B6 than a rabbit, while rabbit meat is richer in vitamins B3 and B12.
- Rabbit also has higher levels of vitamins E and K than beef.
- Beef contains more vitamin A and folate than a rabbit.
So all in all, both rabbit meat and beef can be healthy, and both should be consumed as part of a balanced diet.
Alternatives to Rabbit Meat
There are a few alternatives to rabbit meat:
- Chicken, especially chicken thighs
My Last Bunny Thoughts
Farm-raised rabbits are safe to eat when cooked medium-rare. This must be fantastic news for any meat-eating lover who prefers their rabbit cooked to medium-rare perfection.
Remember that when it comes to eating wild rabbits, you want to ensure the meat is properly handled from when the rabbit is killed until the meat reaches your plate.
If you see signs of tularemia, it’s best to discard the rabbit. Cut out any raised lumps on the rabbit’s skin as these are signs of a warble larval infestation, and stay away from all of the rabbit’s intestines.
So buy your rabbit meat from reputable suppliers to ensure you and your family stay healthy.