Peruvian Charcoal Rabbit

grilled rabbit recipe.jpg

We have a pretty short list of dishes we’re excited to order from a restaurant. Off the top of my head, that list is as follows:

  • Sushi

  • Beef cheek tacos (but only from Taqueria Flavio)

  • Peruvian charcoal chicken

We’ve replicated all of these dishes at home, to varying degrees of success, over the years. So that’s why it’s exciting that we’ve finally nailed down the charcoal chicken. Traditionally, the chicken is marinated and roasted, perfectly cooked and juicy, with crispy, fatty skin. It’s served alongside rice and “green sauce,” which seems to vary by establishment but is usually cilantro and jalapeno-based.

We don’t cook with chicken anymore, so we used rabbit for this recipe. Fire roasted and marinated in lime, soy sauce, and a ton of peppers, this rabbit comes pretty close to the peruvian charcoal chicken we love so much. You could use squirrel here instead, or, even better, a plucked grouse or pheasant. This recipe isn’t all that traditional- we’ve upped the spices and general assertiveness of the flavors, but it stays true to the origin of the dish. It’s a bright balance of peppery, smokey, and umami flavors, paired with a cool herbal sauce.


Peruvian Charcoal Rabbit

This recipe yields enough marinade for 1 whole rabbit, or 2 rabbits worth of quarters. If using young, tender rabbits, you can simply grill after marinating. Use some of the reserved marinade to baste. If using an older, tougher rabbit, we sous vide until tender, then grill to add the char and crisp up the exterior. Even better would be a young pheasant or grouse, plucked, skin intact. Grill it whole and skip the sous-vide.

Prep time: 1 hour active, 12 hours inactive

Serves: 4



4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp oregano

½ tsp cumin

1 tsp sweet paprika

2 tsp achiote powder or mild chili powder

¼ cup aji amarillo paste (yellow pepper paste)

1 large shallot, chopped

1 tbsp soy sauce

Juice of 2 limes

1 tsp salt

grilled rabbit recipe.jpg


Combine all ingredients for marinade and blend, put marinade and rabbit in ziplock bag or large bowl and cover. Marinate for 6 hours or overnight. Remove rabbit and reserve marinade.

Place rabbit in vacuum bag with ½ cup of marinade and place in sous vide bath set at (158F for 6-8 hours) Remove rabbit from bag, and grill on high heat, basting with reserved marinade. The rabbit is already cooked, so just get some char on it and allow the marinade to caramelize onto the rabbit.

grilled peruvian rabbit recipe.jpg

Peruvian rice:

2 cups jasmine rice

3 cups light stock (turkey, chicken, or goose)

1 small onion, diced fine

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp duck fat

½ tsp cumin

Chopped cilantro


Sweat onions, garlic and cumin in sauce pan with duck fat over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes, add in rice, then add stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until rice is done, about 25 minutes. Fluff rice and season with salt, then mix in a handful of chopped cilantro.


Green Sauce:

1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic

2 jalapenos, large, seeded, roughly chopped

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp grated parmesan

1 tbsp Duke’s mayo


Blend all ingredients until smooth and season with salt to taste.