Debonig rabbits can be mystifying. They seemingly have two or three million small bones and removing them feels like it would take forever. Larger animals with chunky bones seem easier, the bones are right there, easy to see and when you cut them out you're usually left with a decent hunk of meat. With rabbits the bones are small and fragile, they break in your hand with very little pressure, and cutting out a bone like the scapula is maddening as there's very little meat around it to begin with, so it's easy to inadvertently cut through the skin whether you want to or not.
My recommendation is to practice, practice, practice. If you're really wanting to debone rabbits often enough, invest in a good knife. Took me a few years to buy a good knife for the job and when I used the right knife for the first time I felt like I was cheating because it was so much easier. I use a Victorinox 5" Curved Boning Knife, Semi-Stiff. It was recommended to me by a professional butcher who's been butchering meat for over 50 years. I trusted his opinion so much that I bought it the day he recommended it to me after seeing a whole rabbit I had just deboned using my run-of-mill kitchen knife.
Deboning the ribs isn't hard, although it looks like it. You can sheet the meat off the ribs quickly leaving a small amount of meat on the bones, or you can pop the ribs out of the body one at a time. Popping them takes longer than sheeting, but it may be something you want to do depending on how you want to use the meat. The pictorial process for sheeting the rib and deboning a whole rabbit for easier grinding is in my ebook, Backyard Butchery with Laurie Levey - Rabbits. When I'm sheeting the meat off the ribs I utilize the meaty bones in broth, use them to make rillettes, give them to my raw fed dogs or they can even be tossed to the chickens that will happily peck them clean. Even in sheeting the ribs there's no waste. Here, I'll show you how to debone the rib cage in a way that doesn't leave any meat on the bones.
This is 6 picture process for popping the rib bones from the meat to fully remove them from the body and then how to get the breast plate removed, leaving all the meat intact when you're done.
The first step is to use your knife with the blade edge flat against the ribs, and scrape each rib from inside the cavity starting at the spine and moving outward, scraping off the thin membrane that holds each rib in place. Completely scrape each rib on one side of he body. You'll want to run some steel over the blade when you're done to sharpen it back up a bit.
When you've successfully scraped the ribs well enough, you can pop each rib out of the meat by placing your hand under the meat and pushing it up with your fingers. The ends of the ribs will readily push out of the meat for an inch or so. Once the ends are free of the meat you can use your fingers to gently move the meat away from each rib all the way to the spine. Pulling on the ribs to remove them from the meat often times breaks the ribs, it's better to move the meat away from the ribs then it is to try to pull the ribs out of the meat.
Once all the ribs are free on one side, feel around for the breast plate on the outer edges of the meat. This is a 3 yr old rabbit with a well developed breast plate. My finger is pointing at the small red dots in the meat where the rib bone was connected to the breast plate, it's easy to see in an older rabbit. The red dots mark the edges of the breast bone.
Making small, shallow cuts with your knife, cut under the edge of the breast bone starting at the neck area and moving toward the belly. The younger the animal the smaller the breast bone will be. It won't take much cutting to free it from the body.
When the breast bone has been removed repeat the process on the other side of the body. You'll be left with an exposed rib cage, fully extracted from the meat. From here you can continue to debone in pieces as shown in my ebook for easier grinding, or debone the entire spine leaving the body of meat intact for stuffing or curing.
All the legs were removed from the body and being used for another purpose. The entire spine was removed in one piece, leaving the rabbit body fully deboned and ready for stuffing or curing