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Oct 20, 2010 06:43 PM

Question Regarding Kidneys and/or Rabbits

I'm about to cook a rabbit for the first time. I just finished the (somewhat daunting) task of cutting the thing up, and was surprised to find a bunch of organs inside the cavity.

I noticed a slightly odd smell while I was cutting the rabbit apart, and I'm wondering if it's just gaminess, or if it's spoiled (thawed it Sunday), or if it's because I handled the kidneys too roughly.

Is that something that happens when you're pulling guts out of an animal? The aroma could be described as vaguely pee-like I suppose.

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  1. Well when I butchered and skinned my own chicken, I definitely didn't think I was smelling anything bottled by Chanel, but I wouldn't call it "pee-like".

    I think you're fine, it shouldn't spoil between Sunday and Wednesday assuming you thawed in the fridge.

    Most likely something the rabbit ate? Maybe indigestion?

    1. Who would freeze a rabbit that was not eviscerated?

      4 Replies
      1. re: Veggo

        Well, it had obviously had some of its guts removed-- there were no intestines or reproductive organs, just (by my best guess) kidneys, heart, uh... liver? lungs? Possibly both. Something seemed lung-shaped but was more purple than I would have imagined lungs to be.

        I got it from a farmer's market. Is it considered bad form to freeze organ meats?

        1. re: sonia darrow

          It's fine for the edible organs. How did the rabbit turn out, and how did you prepare it?

        2. re: Veggo

          The entire population of France. Rabbits with *some* entrails intact are how they're sold - kidneys, heart, and liver, mostly. (head, too, if you want it)

          Sonia, that purplish thing you saw was almost certainly the liver. I've never, ever seen the lungs left in, and the purply thing is in the gut area, and not up behind the, liver.

          1. re: sunshine842

            the liver is a delicacy. There are some italian recipes that ask specifically for rabbit livers. they seem to be proportionally large. You can cook it briefly or save for other uses.

        3. My family raised and slaughtered rabbits when I was growing up. I'm assuming that the bunny was butchered and then the organs returned to the cavity, much like a chicken's giblets. Although with a chicken, the kidneys are sometimes left attached to the abdominal cavity, and I suppose you could do that with a rabbit, too.

          Any "pee-like" smell is likely coming from the kidneys. As ipsedixit notes, that scent isn't particularly noticeable in a chicken, but I've definitely smelt it while butchering larger mammals. And while a rabbit isn't a big mammal ...

          If the rabbit was intact - not gutted - then you're lucky that the smell was only vaguely unpleasant. The heart, liver, kidneys, etc. are all edible, but the intestinal tract isn't (well, it could be, but the work involved would be daunting, and it ain't like you're going to get a bucketful of chitterlings out of the little guy).

          Anyhow, I'd recommend brining in any event. If the carcass smells unpleasant at fridge-to-room temp, you've probably got a problem. Otherwise, cook it like chicken.

          1. I cooked the rabbit last night like this:

            It tasted fine and I don't feel sick so I guess the smell was just the kidneys.

            I feel bad but I think I might throw away the innards-- considering it's been several days since they thawed, and they're all in a bowl with the smelly kidneys. Some of the thawing did take place at room temperature (I know it's a no-no, but I had a ways to travel between the market and my fridge).

            I thought the purplish thing might be lungs because it seemed really big for a liver (though I have no idea how big livers are supposed to get). The color did seem liverish though. The organs that were included were all still attached to the inside of the cavity, which is why I think I probably bruised the kidneys during removal.

            I dunno. Maybe I'll discard the kidneys and rinse the other organs, and try searing them. Is 4 days too far gone for organ meats?

            2 Replies
            1. re: sonia darrow

              I'd always cook offal the day I get it.

              1. re: sonia darrow

                It's probably too late -- you need to cook organ meats within a day or two -- they are *very* fragile.

              2. I find that most times when I buy a whole rabbit, the kidneys are still attached. I don't know why ... are they edible?

                1 Reply