Buttermilk, bourbon and fried rabbit, all good things by themselves. Put them together, and they are outstanding. We marinate the quartered rabbit overnight in a mixture of whole-milk buttermilk and bourbon, then coat in a seasoned-four recipe that is somewhat reminiscent of the fried chicken made famous by a white-suited gentleman from Kentucky (even though this one only has 10 herbs and spices).
The result is a tender fried rabbit that explodes with flavor from the crunchy coating all the way to the bone. The marinade gives the rabbit a tangy flavor that pairs well with the spice and salt of the crust.
And don’t stop with rabbit. This same recipe works with squirrel, quail or even sliced venison backstrap.
2 rabbits, dressed and quartered
1-quart buttermilk (get whole milk if you can find it)
1 cup bourbon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon white pepper
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Whisk the bourbon into the buttermilk. Pour the mixture over the quartered rabbit and refrigerate for 8 to 10 hours. Make sure all the rabbit is in contact with the liquid.
Mix herbs and spices into the flour. Remove the rabbit from the marinade, leaving it wet with buttermilk, and dredge in the flour mixture. Place the dredged rabbit on a wire rack for 10 minutes to allow the crust to set.
Heat an iron skillet with shortening, lard or peanut oil over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees. (An easy way to tell without a thermometer is to drop a kernel or two of popcorn into the oil. When they pop, the oil is up to frying temperature.)
Fry the rabbit for 10 to 15 minutes per side. Move to a paper-lined platter while you finish frying the rest of the rabbit.
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