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How to survive recipes: Award-winning Dutch oven beer-braised rabbit

490 400 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

Many survival manuals stop after they’ve taught you how to catch or acquire wild game or fish. We’ll take it from there, and show you how to make that meat into a tasty meal or main dish! If you have a particular dish or game recipe you’d like to see, let me know!

Survival recipes include anything that can be cooked easily under primitive conditions. Good taste should be a consideration!

by Leon Pantenburg

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I am a hardcore Dutch oven and outdoor cooking foodie. My idea of a good time is to take my cast iron Dutch ovens and prepare a gourmet meal using only the implements and food available to mountain men, soldiers or Oregon Trail travelers in the mid-1800s.

In the world of wilderness survival, though, skill at campfire cooking under primitive conditions  is incredibly important. In a survival situation, food motivates and  provides the fuel for energy and to keep you warm.

If you only have a few staples, such as flour, beans, rice and peanut butter, and few recipes with limited campfire cooking skill, you’ll soon get tired of whatever you cook. While hunger is always the best sauce, a very young child, or older person, might just quit eating because of diet monotony. This is where wild game could come in to vary the menu. In a survival situation, everything that walks, crawls or flies has the potential to become food.

But it is one thing to bag  a game animal, and another to make the meat taste good. In our world right now,  people frequently turn up their noses at wild game meat, claiming it tastes “gamey.” (I’ll spare you my rant at this point.)

So  let’s just say that recipes you can do under primitive conditions should be part of any survival or preparedness kit.

Mike, left, and I did very well in Dutch oven competition at the 2010 Western Days Dutch oven cookoff. We qualified for the 2011 IDOS World Championship cookoff in Sandy, Utah.

The right tools are important, too. They should consist of  a Dutch oven, some basic cooking implements and the correct cutlery to gut, skin and process the meat of game animals.

This week’s recipe features rabbit, either wild or domestic, and comes from my brother, Mike Pantenburg. We compete as a team in Dutch oven competitions, for fun and to improve our campfire cooking.

Mike came up with this rabbit recipe in 2006. It won two competitions that year in the main dish category. We used the recipe in the 2007 International Dutch Oven World Championships.

Mike’s Beer Braised Rabbit


1/3 c. flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Main dish ingredients:

rabbit parts – primarily hind legs, (enough to cover the bottom of a 12-inch Dutch oven)

3 medium red potatoes, quartered

3 large carrots, diagonally cut

3 large mushrooms, sliced

3 Tbs cooking oil

1 medium onion, quartered

Sauce ingredients:

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 c beer

¼ c chili sauce

1 Tbs brown sugar, packed

1 clove garlic, minced

Gravy ingredients (optional)

Remaining beer

2 Tbs flour

1 Tbs chili sauce

Salt and pepper


1)     Place breading mix in a large bowl or gallon Ziploc bag and shake to coat all rabbit parts.

2)      Use 20 coals (under bottom of Dutch oven only) to heat oil. Fry rabbit until brown, turning occasionally.

3)     Remove rabbit and drain excess oil. Return rabbit to Dutch oven.

4)     Add potatoes, carrots, onion and mushrooms on top of rabbit.

5)     In separate bowl, combine sauce ingredients and pour over rabbit and vegetables.

6)     Bring to a boil over medium- hot heat (20 coals under bottom, 5 on lid) for 5 minutes.

7)     Remove coals from lid; remove coals from bottom so only 10 remain. Simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.

8)     Remove from Dutch oven and serve. May drizzle gravy over rabbit and vegetables.

9)     To make gravy, whisk all gravy ingredients together and heat until thick.

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  • Leon

    Never thought to! We were always busy cooking and cleaning during a comptetion, and trying to make sure everything got done at the same time.

  • Pete M

    Sounds good! I’ve made a similar stew (Frugal Gourmet recipe) with dark beer and thyme, works equally well with birds. Love watching Chuck Wagon cooks work, it’s really amazing what they can do with few simple ingredients. Have you ever video taped your cooking competitions? That would be fun to watch on YouTube.

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