In last week’s post about my North Carolina cottontail hunt, I promised I’d share the recipe for camp cook Danny Martin’s smoked barbecue rabbit. Danny was an amazing cook who always seemed to have the smoker going out back. He served us some amazing eats for lunch and supper, so when he asked if we’d like a few of our rabbits cooked up as an appetizer everyone in the group gave an enthusiastic yes.
The result was succulent and spicy, with meat that was fall-off-the-bone tender. The three rabbits lasted all of about 5 minutes when set in front of the five hungry hunters. We barely even had time to snap a quick pic of the plate before it was torn to pieces. (That’s Remington PR consultant Chris Ellis and Field & Stream Editor-at-Large Eddie Nickens attacking the rabbits in the blurry photo below.)
Danny was nice enough to provide the recipe for his smoked rabbit, though he wouldn’t divulge the secret for his homemade barbecue sauce. A bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s or other favorite sauce will suffice, though I can promise you it won’t be as good as Danny Martin’s.
Danny Martin’s Smoked Barbecue Rabbit
-1 cottontail, skinned and gutted
-2 Tbsp. kosher salt
-½ cup white vinegar
-1 Tbsp. garlic powder
-1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
-1 Tbsp. salt
-1 Tbsp. black pepper
-1 bottle of barbecue sauce
Make a brine by dissolving the kosher salt into the white vinegar. Pour the brine over the rabbit in a shallow dish and add enough water to cover. Let sit for at least one hour.
Preheat the smoker to 200 degrees. Remove the rabbit from brine and pat dry. Whisk together equal parts garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Next, season the rabbit heavily with the prepared rub.
Place the rabbit in the smoker and add hickory wood to the smoke box. After 15 minutes, mop the rabbit with barbecue sauce and repeat every 15 minutes.
After two hours, remove the rabbit from the smoker. Mop with more barbecue sauce and serve.