Peking duck, the national dish of China, was traditionally roasted in a clay smoker, much like today's kamado ceramic barbecue smoker. Although it requires some time (mostly unattended) and a few techniques, it is easy to prepare Peking duck at home in your smoker with delicious results.
When purchasing duck, 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 off 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 (3- to 4-pound) duck
- 1 gallon water
- 1 small onion
- 1/2 orange (sliced, with peel)
- For the Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons orange juice (juice of 1/2 orange)
- 5 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons dry sherry
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- For Serving:
- Chinese pancakes
- Green onion
- Cucumber strips
Gather the ingredients.
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, remove from the heat, and let cool for 10 minutes. Divide the sauce in half, reserving one half for glazing and the other half for serving. Place the reserved sauce in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
Place the duck in the smoker. Brush the duck with the sauce to glaze it every 30 minutes. and smoke for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 170 F.
Remove the duck from the smoker and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Carve the duck into 1/2-inch slices. Rewarm the sauce in a saucepan on the stove or the microwave.
Serve the duck with the sauce, Chinese pancakes, green onion, strips of cucumber, and orange slices.
Even with reducing some of the fat with boiling water, you will have a lot of drippings during smoking. Be sure to place a drip pan under the duck and check it when you baste the duck to ensure it doesn't overflow.
Which Wood Should I Use in the Smoker?
Maple wood imparts a complementary flavor to the duck, but you can also use pecan, apple, alder, or cherry.