heavy cast iron pot for frying, cookie sheet with a cooling rack
2rabbits about 2-3 lb each
1qtfrying oil or lardThis is the smallest amount of oil I would start out with, but if you want to shallow fry, you could get away with a little less in a pinch.
Small clove garlic grated
¼teaspoonfresh ground black pepper
1Tablespoondried ramp leavesoptional you can use a pinch of garlic and onion powder instead
1teaspoonfresh ground black pepper
Whisk the ingredients for the buttermilk brine and reserve.
Remove the front and back legs from the rabbits and reserve the carcass, including the saddle for another purpose.
Brine the Rabbits
Put the rabbit front and back legs into a shallow container that will fit them snugly, and cover with the buttermilk brine, then cover and refrigerate overnight, turning once or twice during the process.
Dredging and Frying
The next day make the flour dredge. Mix the dredge ingredients, blending the ramp leaves (if using) in a spice grinder to break them up into a powder, alternately, just pound them in a mortar and pestle.
Preheat an oven to 300 F.
Heat the oil to 350 F in a pot you can fit a couple rabbit legs at a time, they don’t all need to be able to fit, since you’ll likely cook them in batches. I like to use a dutch oven, and cast iron is your best friend here.
Remove the rabbit legs from the buttermilk brine, letting excess brine drip off, then toss them in a bowl with the flour dredge, packing the flour on to help form a crust. Really press the flour on here to make sure it adheres, then gently remove the legs, and, one at a time, lower them carefully into the hot oil.
As you put the legs into the oil, you may want to increase the heat a bit to get it back up to temperature. It’s important for the best crust that the oil be kept at a brisk bubble.
Don’t touch them while they fry
From here, do not touch the rabbits until they’re ready to flip or you may mess up the coating.
After 4-5 minutes, when the legs are getting some color, carefully flip them and color the other side. When the legs are perfectly golden brown, remove them to a baking sheet with a rack and keep warm in the oven while you fry the rest.
Using a thermometer if you need, check the temperature of the legs and make sure it has hit 150F. In a pinch, just stick a thin paring knife or an unraveled paper clip into the thickest part of a large leg and then touch it to your bottom lip—it should be hot. If needed, re-fry the rabbit legs for a minute or two to adjust either the temperature or the color of the crust, then blot quickly on a towel, and serve hot.
If you have time, the rabbits will be much better if they're allowed to sit in the buttermilk overnight, especially if you use wild rabbit.