Grilled Rabbit Legs

Chef Martin Draluck’s grilled rabbit with sweet onion and rosemary
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)
Print RecipePrint Recipe

Rabbit was something that could be fairly easily hunted by enslaved people to offset their meager daily rations. It might be my favorite protein. It’s got similar characteristics to chicken and can be prepared using a lot of the same techniques. In this recipe, we first brine, then marinate the rabbit legs to infuse them with extra flavor and to keep the lean meat juicy. If you can’t find rabbit, you can easily substitute with chicken legs.

For the brine:
For the marinade:

Make the brine: In a large bowl or container big enough to hold at least 1 1/2 gallons liquid, pour in 1 quart hot tap water, followed by the salt and sugar; stir until dissolved. Pour in 3 quarts cold tap water, followed by the peppercorns, coriander, fennel and thyme, and stir to combine. Add the rabbit legs, cover the bowl or container and refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.


Make the marinade: In a blender, combine the maple syrup, olive oil, salt, peppercorns, garlic, rosemary and onions; blend until smooth.


Drain the rabbit legs from the brine and discard the brine. Pat the legs dry, then place in a large bowl. Pour the marinade over the legs, reserving 1/4 cup in a smaller bowl. Massage the marinade over the legs, then cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.


Heat a gas grill over medium or a charcoal grill for indirect grilling. Remove the rabbit legs from the marinade and transfer to a sheet of foil or a plate; reserve the bowl with the marinade. Season the legs with salt and pepper. Grill the legs, turning periodically and basting with the marinade from the reserved bowl, until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest parts of the legs reads 155 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the legs.


Remove the rabbit legs from the grill and transfer to a serving platter. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving with the reserved 1/4 cup marinade.