Tea-Smoked Duck

1 whole duck (5 pounds), rinsed, membranes and fat removed, dried
2 tablespoons shao hsing wine or sherry (I used sherry.)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 cinnamon sticks
3 pieces star anise
3 slices ginger, 1 12 inches long each
6 cups water
23 cup dragon well tea leaves 

1. To prepare the duck, place in large steam-proof dish. Rub duck well with wine, outside and in, then with sugar and salt, outside and in. Place 1 stick of cinnamon, 1 piece of anise, and 1 slice of ginger in the cavity. Place remaining spices on both sides of duck.

2. To steam the duck, place dish with duck in a wok over high heat by setting it on a cake rack above 6 cups of boiling water. Cover wok. Steam for 1 14 hours. During the process check water in wok; if it evaporates, replace with boiling water at hand. After steaming, remove dish with duck and allow to cool to room temperature. Do not touch duck while it is hot, since you may damage the skin.

3. To smoke the duck, place tea leaves in a dry wok over high heat; roast until smoking. Remove duck from steaming dish, place on a rack over the leaves, and cover with wok cover. Place wet cloth around the rim where it meets the wok to seal it tightly. Lower heat to medium and smoke the duck for 7 to 10 minutes.

4. To roast the duck, preheat oven to 375*F for 20 minutes. Prick the duck all over the body with a fork. This will allow the fat beneath the skin to drain. Place duck on a foil-lined cookie sheet on a rack and roast, breast side down for 30 minutes. Turn duck over and roast for another 30 minutes. Turn off heat remove duck from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

5. To serve, remove skin, discard cavity ingredients and cut duck into bite-size pieces.

Notes: I cooked this whole thing in my new slow cooker, which means I did things a bit differently by not using the wok or an oven.  Here are my recipe notes based on that. 

In steps 1 and 2: I placed the duck on a wire rack (that came with the cooker) in the cooker set to stovetop high.  I boiled the water in the cooker, covered, for the 75 minutes.  I did not need to add any liquid, although I did need to turn the cooker off and on every 20 minutes or so since I guess it has a safety-off. 

In step 3: I wiped out the cooker after steaming and used the stovetop set to high again.  After the leaves started to smell and smoke, I proceeded with the rest of the step as is, reducing the heat to medium.  I left the duck in the same wire rack. 

In step 4: I wiped out the cooker again and set it to 375*F.  I let it heat up for 20 minutes, then returned the duck to the cooker – using the same wire rack.  I followed the rest of the instructions as stated. 
In step 5**: Art removed the skin for me, since that’s gross, and cut it into small pieces.  Then I transferred the pieces to a small saucepan set over medium and cooked them up until nice and crispy, like bacon.  Crispy duck skin is delicious!

No photo :(

This recipe is from The Chinese Way by Yin-Fei Lo.  I’ve had this cookbook for about 15 years and I’ve wanted to make this recipe ever since I saw it.  Sadly, I didn’t have access to Dragon Well tea for many more years!  I finally picked some up at Teaism in DC just in order to make this recipe.  But it still took time to get around to it.  I was finally inspired to tackle the recipe due to the Ninja Cooking System since it seemed like it would make all the steps significantly easier – and I think that it did! 

I wish that I had taken a picture, but we were super hungry and it slipped my mind completely.  I served the duck meat with rice, stir fried veggies, and a little bowl of the cracklings. 

I don’t love duck enough that I’d want to make it super often, but it’s nice to be able to make it once in a while.  The meat was really moist and lovely, with lots of flavor and aroma.  I’ll need to pick up more tea leaves before I can make this recipe again, but it will be worth it.

Slow Cooker Peking Duck

4 to 5 pound duck, giblets removed
5 whole green onions
4 star anise
1 inch ginger, peeled
2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
12 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons soy sauce
Plum or hoisin sauce, rice, sliced cucumbers, sliced green onions, and flour tortillas, for serving

1. Place green onions in bottom of slow cooker.  Stuff ginger and star anise into cavity of duck.  In small bowl combine five spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Rub spices all over duck, inside and out.  Place duck inside slow cooker, breast-side up.  Drizzle honey and soy sauce over duck and cook on HIGH for 4 hours. 

2. Carefully remove duck from slow cooker and serve with plum or hoisin sauce, rice, sliced cucumbers, sliced green onions, and warmed flour tortillas. 

Note: I remove skin before serving since it’s not very appetizing. 

Slow Cooker Peking Duck

This recipe is originally from A Year of Slow Cooking which is a grand resource for slow cooking recipes.  I’m still trying to work out the best way to get the skin crispy but, for now, this is just the basic non-crispy skin recipe.  I’ll tweak it a bit more next time and see what happens.  The duck turns out wonderfully tender and tasty.  If you’re feeling ambitious you can save the fat from the bottom of the slow cooker and use it to make popcorn.

Internet - A Year of Slow Cooking

Pan Seared Duck Breasts Attempt #1

4 boneless duck breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400*F. Score the duck fat with a sharp knife, being careful not to pierce the flesh.

2. Season well with salt and pepper and place into an oven safe skillet fat side down.

3. Turn heat under the skillet to low and cook until the fat is rendered. 20-30 minutes.

4. Turn the breasts over and place skillet into the oven. Cook until breasts are medium-rare to medium, about 5-10 minutes and 165*F on an instant-read thermometer.

5. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Save fat for future use if desired.  


This represents my first attempt at cooking duck breasts.  I picked them up after dinner at BRABO and then scoured the internet and my cookbooks for the best way to prepare them.  The skin didn’t crisp up the way I was hoping that it would, hopefully that’s something I’ll be able to rectify in future attempts.  The duck was delicious, flavorful, and perfectly medium-rare.  

Shown here with Red Pepper Risotto.