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Cottontail Tacos

Cottontail Tacos

Prepared tacos using cottontail rabbit meat on a colorful plate

Sweet and spicy wild game tacos featuring tender cottontail rabbit meat

Rabbits are three things: Cute, overpopulated, and tasty. Did I mention they breed prolifically?

In many states overrun by cottontails, the hunting season for these bunnies is year-round. Make sure to check your state’s rabbit hunting regulations before taking your shotgun for a walk, though. Personally, I leave my dog behind when targeting rabbits. In the warmer months, dogs can overheat more quickly. I also don’t ever like pointing the shotgun at the ground when running my dog, as he is guaranteed to turn a rabbit hunt into a high-speed pursuit through thick cover and bramble the moment Peter flushes.

Whether wild or domestic, rabbit is an incredibly healthy meat to eat. However, it does require some TLC to tenderize, especially with more mature wild rabbits. Similarly to upland bird thighs and legs, you want to braise rabbit meat, which means searing then simmering the meat in liquid over an extended period of time.

These low-and-slow cooking methods aid in the breakdown of collagen. Most wild critters contain more collagen than their domestic counterparts, and this collagen will toughen up before turning to gelatin, ultimately tenderizing the meat. 

Patience is indeed a virtue when it comes to cooking certain critters. In the case of cottontail, it is so worth the wait.

Prepared tacos using cottontail rabbit meat on a colorful plate

Cottontail Tacos

Jack Hennessy
Go low and slow to cook rabbit into tender bites for these tacos
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4
Calories 607 kcal


Spice Mix

Braising Liquid


  • 8 jalapeños smoked and seeded
  • 1 medium red onion finely minced
  • 2 avocados sliced
  • 2 limes sliced
  • Fresh cilantro chopped
  • Cotija cheese or queso fresco


  • To butcher a rabbit, follow the steps here.
  • After your rabbit is butchered, mix the spices together in a bowl. Then, apply the seasoning liberally to all the rabbit cuts. Leave the seasoned meat in the fridge for a couple of hours, uncovered, to allow the meat to absorb the spices and to dry out the surface of the meat.
  • To cook the rabbit, add a bit of olive oil to a large skillet and turn the heat on medium. Once the oil reaches 325 F, sear all the sides of the rabbit pieces, one or two quarters at a time. Do not cook the rabbit’s loins yet. Be careful not to crowd the pan, meaning the skillet should never be more than half full. A crowded pan causes the meat to steam, softening the exterior and preventing caramelization.
  • Once all quarters are seared, add them to the skillet and cover them with pineapple juice, chicken stock, and Coca-Cola. Place the lid over the skillet and turn the heat to medium-low so the liquids barely simmer. Simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until the meat falls off the bone. Add more chicken stock if the liquids get low.
  • While the rabbit is simmering, smoke the jalapeños for 2 hours at 200 F. Then, take them out of the smoker, cut off the stems, and remove the seeds. Set the jalapeños aside until ready to serve.
  • Once the rabbit meat is falling off the bone, chop the fresh cilantro, slice the avocados and limes, and finely mince the red onion. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  • In a separate small skillet, add a thin layer of olive oil and heat on medium-high. Sear the rabbit loins quickly and evenly on all sides, then set them aside.
  • When the oven is preheated, add the corn tortillas directly to the oven rack and toast them for a few minutes.
  • To assemble the tacos, shred the rabbit meat off the quarters. Leave the loins whole. Add the whole loins to tortillas by themselves. Add the shredded rabbit meat to the other tortillas. Top each taco with minced onion, sliced avocado, jalapeño, cheese, and chopped cilantro. Spoon leftover braising liquids overtop. Squeeze a bit of lime over the top and serve.


Calories: 607kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 61gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 206mgSodium: 893mgPotassium: 1875mgFiber: 9gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 524IUVitamin C: 69mgCalcium: 90mgIron: 10mg
Keyword rabbit
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View Comment (1)
  • Another recipe I will try. Rabbit hunting is a hoot with the beagle. Always looking for different ways to use the meat.

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