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My neighbour has just given me a freshly shot hare, but has been pretty unhelpful as to what I should do with it. Pheasants I can deal with, but this is a step too far.

Any suggestions (apart from get rid of it) on how I can use it? How should I prepare it and what cooking methods will be effective?

Note by the moderators:

This question is not looking for recipe suggestions. It is OK to explain what methods (e.g. slow cooking, grilling, etc.) are generally good for a whole hare not prepared by a professional butcher. Answers about how to prepare it for cooking (e.g. gutting) are also welcome. Recipe suggestions will be deleted, as they are off-topic on our site.

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

Is it skinned and cleaned (gutted)? – Adam Jaskiewicz Dec 18 '11 at 1:21
No - that's the problem, he's only just shot it! Should I hang it - if so, how long? Should I gut and/or skin it first? – Stuart Dec 18 '11 at 11:22
If it hasn't been cleaned in 13 hours, I'd start to think about quietly disposing of it. If it's been kept in a cold place, maybe not. But gutting and cleaning it should be your first priority. – kdgregory Dec 18 '11 at 14:44
Yeah you pretty much want to clean them right away. – Adam Jaskiewicz Dec 18 '11 at 15:11
@kdgregory your comment should be an answer here – Simon Apr 21 '12 at 2:50

I've never worked with wild hare, but I know that Hank Shaw's site,, is a good source for game recipes, and instructions on breaking them down. Here is a good starting point for hare:

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How to deal with a freshly shot hare.

  1. Immediately it is shot, or as soon as possible thereafter, take hold of the carcase between the rear legs hold the legs downwards and apply pressure with both thumbs between the legs on the bladder to expel any urine onto the ground. This will stop stale urine tainting the meat.
  2. Do not paunch the hare. Leave the entrails in situ and hang the hare by the hind legs in a cool dry place. Use a perforated metal fly proof game larder if you have one. If not, a cool dry area of a garage will suffice but you will need to inspect the carcase regularly to see that flies nave not laid eggs that have hatched into maggots. Do not worry if it happens, just cut away and discard the affected area when you butcher the carcase. The hare may drip blood from the nose this can be collected by tying a jam jar around the head to hang under the nose.
  3. According to how gamey you like the meat to taste and the local temperature, ideally 40 – 50°F, hang the carcase for a week to two weeks. After five days sniff it regularly to judge how ripe it is. Fresh hare is tough, the longer it is left the tenderer and tastier it will become.
  4. Paunch (remove the entrails) and skin the carcase. Remove the head and tail but retain the liver, kidneys and heart to give added flavour to the stew. Joint the carcase into from eight to ten pieces.
  5. Cook according to any recipe you fancy, There are lots on the web. To my taste the essential ingredients among the many herbs listed are, in order of priority: juniper berries, a hot peppercorn (remove before serving), a glass or more of port, an onion studded with cloves (remove before serving) and other herbs to taste.

The keys to success are hanging the carcase until ripe and gamey and long slow cooking with plenty of herbs. The dish is always nicer if left to cool overnight and then reheated. Bon Appetit!

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I'll assume it is skinned and cleaned already. I would discard the organs and make a stew with it. Chop it into pieces (bigger than bite-size is fine--you don't really want bone fragments) and simmer it in broth on low heat until tender. Probably the meat will be rather tough, so this cooking method will do well to make keep it moist and as tender as possible. Typical European stew vegetables (onion, carrot, etc.) will go well with it. If you want to fancy it up a little, you could toss the hare pieces in flour and brown them in butter before adding to the stew.

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Unfortunately it's entire, not skinned or cleaned - see my additional comment above. – Stuart Dec 18 '11 at 11:23

Nonsense a freshly shot hare should be hung for up to 10 days at a temperature below 10degees celcius. The head should always hang down in other words the hare should be hung up by its back legs. The animal should NOT be paunched {cleaned and gutted or skinned until you are going to cook it. I KNOW I come from an old traditional knowledgable farming family.

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10C (50F) is awfully warm to be storing raw meat, and leaving the guts in the animal for 10 days goes against all common sense. – SourDoh Jan 12 '14 at 5:29
@sourd'oh aging game is a traditional process. It may go against USDA guidelines, and the result may taste unpleasant to today's palates, but it is an established practice - so it may go against your "common" sense, but there are many people who don't have their sense in "common" with you :) – rumtscho Jan 12 '14 at 9:23

If you have a copy of The Joy of Cooking, it has a semi-decent overview of skinning/cleaning a rabbit, with illustrations.

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