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Rabbits with rigor mortis?

Got given a pair of bunnies yesterday. They were still warm when I got them, and I skinned them in the evening.

Turns out that the whole gutting and skinning thing is harder when the bunny has rigor mortis. I've done this with freshly killed rabbits before, and with rabbits a day or two old, and its a doddle, but getting the skin off a stiff rabbit is hard work.

I left them out till later in the evening before jointing one and freezing the other (I'm sure I've read that funny things happen if you put meat with rigor mortis into the fridge or freezer, muscles shrink or something). But it occurs to me that I've just got no idea how long rigor lasts for; how long after killing before it sets in, and when does it wear off? Other than being a bit harder to get them skinned and cleaned, are there other disadvantages to processing a bunny (or other animal) when it has rigor mortis?
dpack

timing depends on temp and oxidation state of the critter when it croaks
cut before or hang until relaxed seems easyest
with most fish they taste better and have better texture pre rigor
Northern_Lad

Yeah, at the skills weekend last year, which you didn't attend, I jointed a pair of chickens and ended up with the same problem.

It's slightly odd working with still-warm meat...
GENT

Northern_Lad wrote:

It's slightly odd working with still-warm meat...


Nah!
It warms your fingers up on a cold day!
Chez

Northern_Lad wrote:
It's slightly odd working with still-warm meat...


I like it.
Northern_Lad

I didn't say I didn't like it; it's just odd when you're used to dealing meat that's been in the fridge.
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