Friday, September 24, 2010

Tea Smoked Duck

As part of Chinese week, it would seem a duck dish is essential.  Tea smoked duck has appeared on a few menus around town.  And having had it several times now, I've decided it was time to try one at home.  I called my mom for some advice, but unfortunately, she told me she has never made it before.  So, to the internet I went a searching and found this recipe which looked manageable and sounded right: Tea-Smoked Duck by Anita Lo.  

Here are my notes on the recipe:
The instructions were to dip the duck in boiling water holding it by its neck.  Most ducks you buy in our markets do not have the neck and head attached.  So, I used kitchen string and tied it around the body of the duck and looped it under the wings, and knotted the string into a loop.  Then I used the string to dip the duck in the boiling water and subsequently, to hang the duck to dry.  Dipping the duck in the boiling water tightens the skin of the duck and helps it to crisp when cooking as does the drying process.

I was torn on what to do with the hanging of the duck in a "cool dry place".  Was my basement cool enough to hang a raw duck overnight?  Should I put it in the refrigerator?  It would seem if that was ok, it would just say dry on a rack in the refrigerator overnight.  Cool dry place.  What exactly is that?  I decided to throw caution to the wind and hang the duck in the basement.  With Peking duck in mind, I decided to put a fan on the duck to help dry it.  Then, in the morning, I decided to put it in the refrigerator until ready to cook.  




For smoking, I did not have the particular Lapsang Souchong tea specified in the recipe, so just used a generic black tea.  I suspect my neighbors were wondering what in the world was going on at our house.  The smoking of the tea, rice and brown sugar created quite an odor.  I think I got a caffeine buzz from inhaling the smoke while tending to the duck.  


The flavor of the duck was right on.  The breast was perfectly tender and flavorful.  The rest of the duck could have been more tender, so I will have to think about that one.  Other recipes I found called for steaming the duck first and smoking it for a shorter amount of time.  I may have to try that next time.  Overall, a keeper.  Worth another go if for nothing else, a Chinese item cooked on the charcoal grill.  Two of my loves meet.  
Check back tomorrow to see if we encountered any adverse side effects of the overnight duck hanging in the basement.

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