Tea-Smoked Duck

Camphor wood for smoking, used for this duck at the China Club, is not available in the United States.

Tea-Smoked Duck
Camphor wood for smoking, used for this duck at the China Club, is not available in the United States.
Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 pekin (long island) duck, rinsed and patted dry, wing tips removed
  • 12 cup Chinese black tea leaves
  • 1 piece dried tangerine peel, broken into small pieces
  • Peanut oil
  • 12 cup hoisin sauce

Instructions

  1. Put salt and peppercorns into a small skillet and heat over medium heat until salt begins to smoke, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and crush with pestle. Rub duck all over and inside cavity with salt mixture. Put duck, breast side up, on a rack set over a pan and refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 hours.
  2. The following day, bring 8 cups water to a boil in a pot over high heat. Put duck into sink, breast side up, and pour half of the boiling water over duck. Turn duck over and repeat process with the remaining water. Put duck, breast side up, on a wire rack that just fits inside a large lidded wok and set aside.
  3. Line the large wok with 2 large sheets of heavy-duty foil, allowing excess to hang over sides. Spread tea leaves and tangerine peel in bottom of wok, cover, and heat over high heat until smoke begins to seep out, about 5 minutes. Uncover, put rack with duck into wok, cover, and seal with overhanging foil. Reduce heat to medium to maintain steady smoking and smoke duck for 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer duck to a large steamer basket, breast side up, set over a pot of boiling water over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and steam for 30 minutes.
  5. Pour oil into a wide deep pot large enough to fit duck to a depth of 3" and heat over medium-high heat until temperature reaches 350º on a candy thermometer. Carefully transfer duck to pot, breast side down, and fry, turning duck twice and basting with hot oil if not completely submerged, until skin is deep golden and crisp, about 20 minutes. Transfer duck to paper towels to drain and cool slightly, then transfer to a cutting board, chop into 2" pieces with a cleaver or heavy kitchen knife, and arrange on a platter. Serve with hoisin sauce and Chinese steamed buns.