Mesquite Smoked Rabbit Tacos

Mesquite Smoked Rabbit Tacos
Our accountant Zach lives on this gorgeous ranch out in the country. He's always scheming to get a rabbit for a tasty snack while out and about doing chores. Last week, his opportunity appeared when his daughter Maylie spotted this cottontail hiding in the bushes. It launched straight up in the air at the very moment Zach was able to get a clean shot in! His daughter helped clean it and they delivered it into Chef Matt's capable smoking hands to whip up these incredible tacos. 
Serves: 4
Total time: 3 hours

Tip – Rabbit is incredibly lean, so don’t skip the overnight brine and don’t overcook it. If you can’t find wild rabbit, they can be purchased online or in some specialty stores.

Ingredients

For the Brine

  • ¾ Cup Salt
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar

For the Rub

  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • ½ Tbsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • ½ Tbsp Black Pepper, ground
  • ½ Tbsp Chili Powder

For the slaw

  • 3 Carrots, shredded
  • 3 Green Onions, sliced thin
  • 1 Tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1 Lime, juiced

For the Tortillas

  • 2 Cups, AP Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Lard
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda

Method

  1. Brine the day before. Combine the salt and sugar with a little hot water in a non-metallic container, stir to dissolve. Place the rabbit in the container and add enough cold water to cover completely. You can use a plate to keep the rabbit submerged if needed. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 6 hours.
  2. Preheat a smoker to 200°F and add some mesquite wood chips. Season the rabbit well with the rub and place it on a rack. Put a heatproof tray of water underneath it. The humidity will help prevent the rabbit from drying out too much.
  3. Smoke the rabbit for 3 hours then wrap tightly in foil. Turn up the heat on the smoker to 225°F and continue to cook until you reach an internal temperature of 160°F. Remove and set aside to rest.
  4. To make the slaw, combine all ingredients and mix to combine, set aside.
  5. For the tortillas, blend the lard into the flour, add the baking soda and ¾ cup of water, mix well.
  6. Knead the dough for around 10 minutes, it will be very soft and slightly elastic. Add more flour or water as needed.
  7. Divide the dough into 8 balls of equal size. Use the palm of your hand to flatten each ball and roll them out as thin as you can.
  8. Brush the tortillas with a little oil and briefly grill or cook in a hot skillet on both sides until you reach the crispiness desired.
  9. Remove all the rabbit meat from the bones and shred.
  10. Top each tortilla with some rabbit, slaw, and crumbled cotija cheese. Finish with a spritz of lime.
  11. Enjoy!

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