I am aware that this post is going to bother a lot of people. If you are not going to respect my beliefs as I respect yours, please do not continue reading, it is pointless.
I was a vegetarian and animal rights activist for over ten years. I argued A LOT and I learned A LOT. After years and years of research and changing the way that I lived, several things happened. One, I learned that in order to live in a fashion that completely avoids the killing of animals, the use of any use of animal products, doesnt get in the way of their natural habitat…you have to kill yourself and get out of their way. I also learned that because I have PCOS, I would have to be A LOT more careful than most people in how I was eating to avoid getting sick. Evidently macaroni and cheese and veggie burgers do not a square meal make. When i DID get sick, I was poor, and realized that I could not afford to eat 3 super healthy vegetarian meals a day. (The post about health food prices VS junk food prices we shall reserve for another time) I would have to start eating meat. I cried for about a month. I wondered how many of my friends would quit talking to me (A LOT). I ended up reading a lot about Native American philosophies (I am part Cherokee)etc etc. I came to the decision that as long as I didnt eat a bunch of anti-biotic factory farmed meat, I could be okay with it. I now believe that as long as you are respectful of where you food is coming from, that you understand the process, and use as much of the animal as humanly possible, than it is okay. I vowed to learn this process. I accepted my position at the top of the food chain. I also started traveling a lot at this time to mainland China. Let me tell you, you ain’t got no choice there.
In order to survive after the oncoming Apocalypse, you are going to need to know how to kill and prepare your own food.
My promise to look an animal in the eye and understand what I am putting in to my kitchen and my body was made over 4 years ago. It took me this long to actually do it. And I almost chickened out. I have been going through a lot, and I needed a break, now with writing this blog, I actually have an excuse for these things, so I headed on down to North Carolina, where I spent the majority of my formative years, and the beginnings of my vegetarian ones. I got to see my parents, and then I was lucky enough to get to stay on a farm. A farm belonging to one of my closest and longest friends. We will call him Wesley, like in Princess Bride, for the sake of this story.
Now, it is winter, so there isn’t a lot going on at the farm right now, but I did get to spend my mornings like I did as a child, walking outside to t and feed the animals and gathering eggs to make breakfast. Or, Pre-birds, as Aziz Ansari likes to call them.
When the decision was made to kill a rabbit, I did some research and found a lot of great sites. The most helpful was this piece on killing and butchering rabbits. I also fell in love with Brooklyn Homesteader.
I made the stupid mistake of playing with all of the baby bunnies before going to pick out the oldest, meanest rabbit. That was stupid, and caused me to start crying and almost change my mind. Its the eyes!!! Wesley was looking at me like I was insane, as I am usually such a bad ass…What I wouldn’t pay to be a nice, emotionless man for just one day! ; ) We chose a rabbit. I said a prayer, thanking the rabbit for giving its life for mine.
Now, in my delusional head, we could just hack the rabbits head off, or give it an injection or something. This is not the case. You have to bash its head in. If you cut it off, the blood can spoil the meat. This can be done with a tool, or in our case, a tree stump. (I am officially in the country!) This is about when i started hyperventilating. Wesley was kind enough to do the bashing. Once the rabbit stop twitching, you can let it bleed out its mouth and nose. After that, and some encouraging texts from Emily, I had stopped crying and was ready to learn.
We then cut and pulled off the fur and put it in a salt solution to preserve, and moved to a bucket to spill out the organs. A slice down the belly does the trick, just remember not to cut the organs open!
Now, there are a lot of things that you can do with organs, in this case they went in to raccoon traps for catch/release to keep them from harrassing the animals and garden.
Now you want to wash the body and get ready to quarter it. I happen to be rather proud of this photograph.
After quartering, wash again and be VERY thorough! We ended up taking all four appendages, the glorious tenderloins on either side of the spine, as well as the ribs, as an experiment.
Now you are ready to cook! You can find the recipe for the Braised rabbit we made Here, I posted separately for those who want to miss the graphic portion. : )
All in all, I am very glad I went through with this, I learned a lot, and I have a newfound respect for where my food comes from. Also, I have eaten rabbit before, and this was by FAR the best I have ever had.