Have you tried to go vegetarian but found it difficult to stop eating meat altogether? Are you looking for a healthy meat option with minimal environmental impact? Perhaps you’ve thought of trying rabbit meat, but you’re unsure of what kind of meat it is.
So is rabbit red meat?
Rabbit meat is defined as red meat under nutritional science as it comes from an adult mammal and contains more myoglobin (a type of protein) than fish or chicken. However, the culinary arts define rabbit meat as white meat, as it’s low in calories and has less fat than red meat.
If you are considering adding rabbit meat to your diet or you are thinking of raising rabbits for meat, then this detailed guide will provide all the information you need.
What Is Red Meat?
Let’s take a closer look at how different sciences and arts define red meat:
In Gastronomy Terms
Gastronomy (the art of choosing, cooking, and eating food) defines meat by its color.
If the raw flesh is red and has a dark color after cooking or boiling, they label it as red meat. Once cooked or boiled, white meat has a very pale color in contrast to red meat.
Gastronomy defines the following animal’s meat as red:
Rabbit meat, in gastronomy terms, is considered red meat as it has a dark color once it has been cooked.
In Nutritional Science Terms
Nutritional science defines red meat as meat with higher levels of myoglobin (a protein) than white meat. The meat also has more red muscle fibers.
Natural science defines the following animals as red meat:
- Chicken thighs and drumsticks
Rabbit meat, in nutritional science terms, is considered red meat as it has a higher level of myoglobin than white meat.
The culinary arts define red meat as any meat from an adult or gamey (wild meat) mammal. They only classify meat as mammals or fowl and don’t take fish into consideration.
The following animals are considered to have red meat in the culinary arts:
- Pork tenderloin
Rabbit meat, in culinary terms, is considered red meat as the meat comes from an adult mammal.
Is Rabbit a Game Meat?
Game meat (or dark meat) has an entirely separate category from red and white meat.
Rabbit isn’t considered game meat, and it has a mild flavor similar to the taste of chicken. Rabbit hare, on the other hand, does fall under the dark-meat category.
Hare has a dark reddish color and is made up of more fibers. The meat also has a pronounced gamey taste and is richer than rabbit meat. Game meat can be divided into 3 categories:
1. Small birds like quail.
2. Winged game like a duck, and ground game like squirrel and hare.
3. Big game such as deer or venison
What Kind of Meat Is Rabbit Meat?
Rabbit meat is fine-grained white meat (under the culinary arts) and red meat (under nutritional science) that has become very popular (especially in the health industry). The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) classifies rabbits as poultry (birds).
The meat is high in protein and low in fat. It has a far lower sodium level than other meat, such as beef. You can replace chicken with rabbit meat in many recipes, as the meat tastes similar.
Is Rabbit Meat Safe to Eat?
Rabbit meat is safe to eat, and is one of the healthiest meat options you can consume. A bonus is its minimal environmental impact (breeding rabbits requires far less space than cattle).
It’s vital to ensure you obtain your meat from a reputable butcher or hunter. Ensure to follow the cooking guidelines and store the meat properly to avoid food poisoning.
It’s important to note that rabbit meat is high in protein and low in fat. Overeating this meat can result in protein poisoning (excessive protein intake without balancing nutrients). This condition can lead to the buildup of metabolic protein waste in the kidneys.
Best Meat Rabbit Breeds
When breeding rabbits for meat, choosing the correct breed is essential, as not all rabbits are good for meat (such as dwarf rabbits that have very little meat on their bones).
Let’s take a look at some of the best rabbit breeds for meat:
New Zealand Rabbit
The New Zealand rabbit is one of the most popular meat rabbit breeds. This rabbit puts on weight quickly and has a good meat-to-bone ratio. By the time the kits (baby rabbits) have reached 8 weeks, they will weigh around 8 pounds.
Adult rabbits weigh around 9 to 12 pounds.
Another popular meat rabbit breed is the California rabbit. This breed of rabbit weighs around 8 to 12 pounds and grows fast.
These rabbits have a good temperament, which makes them easy to raise. They also have a stocky build.
Silver Fox Rabbit
The Silver Fox rabbit is popular amongst homesteaders as it can be used for more than just meat. Their fur is also popular, and you can also make money from breeding and selling the kits (baby rabbits).
The silver fox rabbits weigh between 10 and 12 pounds.
Is Rabbit Meat Healthy?
Rabbit meat is a healthy alternative to other meats such as chicken, lamb, and pork. Let’s take a quick look at why rabbit meat is a healthier option of meat:
- Rabbit meat has a higher percentage of protein per serving than other meat
- It has the lowest percentage of fat
- It has the least amount of calories per pound
- It contains much higher levels of vitamins and minerals
- It has less sodium content
- It’s environmentally friendly
Notable Benefits of Eating Rabbit Meat
Let’s take a closer look at some of the notable benefits of eating rabbit meat:
Rabbit meat has a high protein content, an essential nutrient for maintaining your skin, muscles, hair, and nails.
Rabbit meat contains selenium, which is an essential antioxidant. It helps reduce inflammation in the body and boosts your immune system.
Vitamins and Minerals
Rabbit meat is a good source of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B12 is essential for creating new red blood cells.
The meat also contains minerals such as phosphorus and calcium, which helps build healthy bones.
Low Levels of Fat and Cholesterol
Rabbit has very little fat, calories, and cholesterol, making it lean meat. This kind of meat is very popular amongst people with an active lifestyle or who are health conscious.
Did you know? Rabbit meat has fewer calories than chicken.
My Last Bunny Thoughts
Rabbit meat is an excellent alternative to common meats. It’s also free from hormones and antibiotics. Eating rabbit meat provides you with essential vitamins, minerals, and less unhealthy fats.
But, while rabbit meat has many health and environmental benefits, there are obviously some downsides to consuming rabbits. Many people feel eating rabbits is like eating a pet.
The USDA classifies them as poultry, which means rabbits don’t need to be unconscious before slaughter. Rabbit meat is also not readily available and is not stocked at local groceries or butcheries.
So if you do want to include this healthy meat in your diet, buy from reputable suppliers.