Nashville Hot Rabbit Bites by Caleb Johnson

Nashville Hot Rabbit Bites by Caleb Johnson

I encourage any recipe I write to be approached with some personal creativity. It’s not difficult to change the level of spice, alter your accompaniments or utilize a different species of wild game in a given recipe. For Instance I have used not only rabbit, but pheasant and squirrel for this recipe. You’ll see the ingredients carry over through the different stages of this procedure. This will build layers to the flavor and result in a delicious finished product.

This is a take on a Nashville classic. Using cottontail in place of chicken

2 cottontail rabbits, deboned, cut into 1 inch cubes

For the Marinade

2 cups buttermilk

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon salt(additional for seasoning after frying)

1 tablespoons vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Franks Red hot)

2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon salt(plus additional for seasoning after frying)

For the Nashville oil

1 cup hot vegetable oil(taken after frying)

6 tablespoons cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

For the Breading

4 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon paprika

Vegetable oil(around 6 cups, depending on width/depth of pan) for frying

Serve with anything you’d like. Pictured here with ranch dressing and pickled beets but you could also drizzle with honey or slap it on some bread and eat it as a sandwich.


A deep-fry thermometer


Step 1:

The first step in any wild game recipe is properly caring for your harvest. After harvesting a wild rabbit its always beneficial to soak it in salt water for 12-24 hours which draws out some iron and tenderizes the meat.

Step 2:

Combine all of the “Marinade” and your cubed rabbit and allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 12 hour. 24 will yield a higher flavored, more tender product.

Step 3:

Place your oil into a pot with your deep fry thermometer and heat to 325 degrees

Step 4:

While your oil is reaching temperature begin tossing your rabbit into the seasoned flour. Individually bread each piece and place onto a sheet pan. If you complete this task before the oil is hot. Don’t worry, the flour tends to stick better if it’s allowed to sit.

Step 5:

In batches fry your breaded rabbit until it is golden brown and floats to the surface for 1 minute. If you have a thermometer to check, that’s even better. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Line a sheet tray with paper towels and transfer your finished pieces there to remove access oil.

Step 6:

After you’re done frying, ladle the 1 cup of oil used to fry into a bowl with the seasonings listed in “Nashville oil” and whisk to combine. Brush over your piece of fried rabbit and season with a little additional salt. Enjoy

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