You have probably tried the sticky, sweet, brilliantly red Chinese-style barbecued pork at a restaurant or two. Even if you haven’t tried it, I’ll bet the bright-red color at least caught your eye.
This version substitutes boned-out rabbit meat for the pork. Marinate it eight hours to overnight, then grill for some of the most flavorful, juiciest rabbit you will ever taste. We like to serve it with stir-fried vegetables and steamed white rice for a full meal.
The traditional bright-red color comes, of course, from the red food coloring. Leaving it out will have no bearing on the finished flavor of the Char Siu at all, so feel free to omit it if you avoid artificial food coloring.
Save this marinade recipe. It is great on just about any wild game. Pigs, of course, but also pheasant and other upland birds, waterfowl and even venison taste great after a bit of time in the mixture.
2 to 3 rabbits, deboned and cut into large bites
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Chinese rice wine
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon red food coloring (optional)
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Debone the rabbit by separating the carcass into the traditional legs and back. Push the bones of the rear leg through the meat and twist to remove. Filet out the backstraps, just like you would on a deer. Since a rabbit’s front leg doesn’t have a ton of meat on it to begin with, I usually leave them bone in for this recipe. Cook’s treat.
Cut the boned-out meat into large bite-sized pieces. Mix the sauce ingredients well. Place the rabbit in a 1-gallon zip-style bag and pour over the sauce. Zip the bag almost all of the way closed and squeeze out any extra air. Finish zipping the bag closed and work the meat and sauce together with your hands to ensure full contact with all of the meat’s surface. Refrigerate overnight.
Heat your Traeger, charcoal or gas grill to medium-high, about 300 degrees on the Traeger. Pull the rabbit pieces from the sauce, letting any excess marinade drip back into the bag. If the grates on your grill are spaced far enough apart to allow the rabbit to fall through, add a grill pan like this Traeger Grilling Basket.
Grill the rabbit for 30 minutes or until the rabbit is just cooked through. Serve over rice alongside stir-fried vegetables for a complete meal.
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