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Nashville Hot Fried Rabbit Recipe

Nashville Hot Fried Rabbit Recipe
Print Recipe

If you have ever tasted the perfect balance of heat with just a hint of sweetness that is good Nashville-style Hot Chicken, you’ll recognize immediately the flavor combination will be right at home on wild game.


  • 3 rabbits, each cut into 5 pieces: 4 legs and the back
  • Vegetable oil, vegetable shortening, or lard for frying

Buttermilk Soak Ingredients

  • 1 qt. buttermilk
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup Frank’s (or other brand) hot sauce
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flake

Flour Dredge Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. fine kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper

Hot Coating Ingredients

  • 4 tbs. lard, melted
  • 2 tbs. cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. fine kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper


  1. In a large glass or plastic bowl, mix the buttermilk, brown sugar, hot sauce, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir well to completely dissolve the salt and brown sugar. Add the rabbit pieces. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
  2. When you are ready to cook, heat a half-inch of oil, lard, or shortening in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Mix the dredge ingredients in a large bowl or shallow pan.
  3. Lift each piece of rabbit from the buttermilk soak, shake off any excess liquid, and roll in the flour dredge until well coated. Move the floured pieces to a wire rack and allow them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes for the crust to set.
  4. Once the oil has reached 350 degrees, gently place just enough rabbit to fill the skillet without overcrowding. Fry for 8 to 10 minutes on the first side. Then turn the pieces and place a lid on the skillet, leaving just a bit of a crack for steam to escape. Fry for an additional 10 minutes, then remove the lid.
  5. Flip the rabbit once more to crisp both sides. Move the finished pieces to a wire rack in a warm oven while you continue cooking until all the rabbit is ready.
  6. For the hot coating, heat the lard in a small saucepan. Stir in the cayenne pepper, brown sugar, garlic powder, kosher salt, and black pepper. Just before serving, use a basting brush and liberally coat the surface of the rabbit.
  7. To serve the rabbit in true Nashville Hot Chicken style, start by plating a slice or two of plain white bread. Place 2 to 3 pieces of rabbit onto the bread, then use a toothpick to pin a couple of dill pickle slices to the rabbit.
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