Spit-roasted Rabbit

“Serving men were carrying off baskets of Hot Pie’s bread and tarts, the chief cook was carving cold slices off a ham, spit boys were turning rabbits while the pot girls basted them with honey, women were chopping onions and carrots.” -A Clash of Kings
Spit-Roasted Hare

Our Thoughts:

This is about as rustic as our recipes get. Limited by our current residency in the city, we roasted our rabbit over our porch grill, rather than a proper fire. The result, as you can see, is a picturesquely charred rabbit suspended over glowing coals.  The pairing of the char on the rabbit and honey produces a taste reminiscent of barbecue sauce, smoky and sweet together. Although rabbit is prone to turning dry as it cooks, ours stayed juicy and tender, in part, no doubt, to the honey basting.

We tried eating the rabbit with forks and knives, but in the end stooped to tearing at the meat with hands and teeth. Much more effective, and somehow even more flavorful. Not to mention perfectly in keeping with the book, given how the rabbit is eaten a few pages later…

Roasted Rabbit Recipe:

Cook’s Notes: Because the temperatures of grills and open fires can vary widely, check your rabbit for doneness. Pay special attention to the hind legs, where the muscle is thickest. You can also use the leftovers to make our Elizabethan Stewed Rabbit (in the cookbook). Win! And while you’ve got the grill going, you might as well pair this dish with our Grilled Peaches in Honey.

Serves: 3-4, with sides
Prep: 5 minutes       Cooking: about a half hour
  • 1 rabbit
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • juice from half a lemon
  • more honey for serving
Thread one very long metal skewer (or two shorter ones) through the length of the rabbit.
In a small bowl, combine the butter, honey, and lemon juice. Swirl together until combined.
Suspend the rabbit over hot coals, and baste with the honey mixture. Turn the rabbit periodically to expose all sides to the heat, basting all the while. When all the meat is done, remove from heat, and carve into portions. Serve with the option of additional honey.

Leave a Reply

  1. It’s highly recommended, when roasting things with a spit, to have your spit next to the fire, rather than over it. Medieval people were very aware of the flavors of ash and smoke, and, given some of the recipes they’ve left us, fought very hard to keep them out of their food. Also, by putting your spit next to the fire, you can put a catch-pan under the yumminess being roasted, to catch drippings to make the base of a flavorful sauce, and keep those fats out of the fire, where they’ll just make smoke.

  2. I can’t express how much I love you for creating this website. I often find myself giddy with anticipation for the next post. I read the books and drool over the smallest detail, I am not sure how Mr. Martin does it but his simplistic descriptions for such elaborate feasts have sparked a culinary passion I never knew I had. Your site is icing on the cake! Your creativity with the recipes from authentic to modern is mouth wateringly good. If a pictures says a thousand words, then the combo of your cooking and the books have all my sense entranced. Thank you, it brings the best of all things in life and makes it an experience that can be share with friends and family.
    … Now to find a Rabbit

    • This is the easy part. You can either purchase pre-processed rabbit at a butcher shop that deals in wild game, or you can buy farmed rabbit from a farmer. You might be lucky to find a farmer that already has his butchering finished for the season! And finally, you can learn how to make and set a snare.

      Processing the rabbit is fairly easy. I’m not going to go into detail here, in case some people are sqeamish, but you can look up easy instructional videos on Youtube. :D It’s not that bad; trust me, processing a live chicken is worse! Good luck and happy hunting!

  3. Hi, much love from a long-time fan!
    Was your rabbit wild or farmed? It looks like farmed to me by the colour of the meat (I might be wrong, maybe our UK rabbits are just weird, heh!) and I know from experience that the two taste significantly different. If yours was in indeed farmed, would you recommend making any adjustments to the recipe in order to make it go better with the more gamey wild bunny?
    Take care,

    • Hi Agata! Ours is indeed a farmed rabbit. As for tweaking the recipe, I’d suggest just keeping an eye on the rabbit as it cooks. The sauce will still suit the flavors well. I imagine your wild bunny will be a bit more lean, and so might take less time to cook. Above all, let us know how it turns out! :)

    • For wild rabbit and other extra-lean meats, consider brining in the refrigerator. The salt will diffuse into the protein structures and keep them from contracting completely, such that more of the moisture already in the meat has enough room to stay put. Nevertheless, it is still important to cover the roast with tin foil and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Do not add extra salt.