You can prepare delicious Peking duck in your smoker. This national dish of China was traditionally roasted in a clay smoker, much like today's kamado ceramic barbecue smoker.
Look for the Pekin breed from Long Island, which has a thicker fat layer than the Muscovy breed. This fat layer is what helps crisp up the skin. Pouring boiling hot water over the duck before smoking helps to melt and drain away the fat that is just under the skin. Then you allow the duck to dry out in the refrigerator overnight. These steps are necessary to give you the crisp skin that makes Peking duck so good.
Carving the beautifully browned bird at the table makes a dramatic presentation for a dinner party or special family dinner. The typical accompaniments for Peking duck are thin pancakes, sliced cucumber strips, and spring onion. Guests can make a small wrap of the duck with these items and the sauce, which replaces commercially-prepared hoisin sauce.
- 1 duck (3 to 4 pounds or 1.5 to 1.8 kilograms)
- 1 small onion
- For the Sauce:
- 1/2 orange (sliced, with peel)
- 2 tablespoons orange juice (juice of 1/2 orange)
- 5 tablespoons/75 milliliters honey
- 3 tablespoons/45 milliliters wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons/45 milliliters dry sherry
- 3 tablespoons/45 milliliters soy sauce
Rinse the duck, inside and out, removing any fat inside the body cavity.
Bring a gallon of water to a boil.
Pierce the skin of the duck in several places with a sharp fork and pour about a gallon of boiling hot water over it.
Stuff the duck with the onion and orange slices. Let it dry in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight.
Preheat the smoker.
In a small saucepan, mix the orange juice, honey, wine vinegar, sherry, soy sauce, and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil and let cool for 10 minutes. Split the sauce, reserving one half for glazing and the other half as a serving sauce. Place the reserved sauce in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve, rewarming it in the saucepan or the microwave.
Place the duck in the smoker. Brush the duck with the sauce to glaze it every 30 minutes. and smoke for about 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 170 F (77 C).
Remove the duck from the smoker and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Carve the duck into 1/2-inch slices.
Serve with the reserved sauce, Chinese pancakes, green onion, and strips of cucumber.
As the pancakes are eaten with the fingers, be sure to provide extra napkins.
Even with reducing some of the fat with the boiling water, you will have a lot of drippings during smoking. Be sure you have a drip pan under the duck and check it when you baste the duck to ensure it doesn't overflow.