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The Hirshon Yunnan Yiliang Roast Duck - 宜良烤鴨

The Hirshon Yunnan Yiliang Roast Duck – 宜良烤鴨

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Units Scale
  • 1 5 1/2 pound Pekin duck
  • ***
  • Marinade:
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. 5 spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup thick honey
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ***
  • Seasoning:
  • 2 tbsp. peeled ginger root
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ***
  • Glaze:
  • 1 tbsp. thick honey
  • 1 tsp. Chinese red vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Chinese red rice wine
  • ***
  • For basting:
  • Liquified lard combined with some thick honey
  • ***
  • For the cooking:
  • Pine branches with many needles
  • Hardwood lump charcoal, the best you can find – TFD prefers binchotan charcoal from Japan


  1. Dry duck carefully with paper towels and place on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Using fingers or the dull handle of a wooden spoon, carefully separate the skin from the breast meat by inserting fingers through the bottom of the breast and slowly working your way up. Be VERY careful not to tear the skin!
  3. Combine honey and soy sauce with 1 tablespoon water in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high until honey is softened, about 20 seconds. Stir together mixture with spoon until homogeneous.
  4. Spoon mixture over duck and rub over entire surface, making sure to coat all exposed skin. Combine all other marinade ingredients in small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over all surfaces of duck. Refrigerate duck, uncovered, at least 12 and up to 36 hours until surface is completely dry with leathery appearance.
  5. Put the spices inside the duck and close it with a small skewer. Plunge the duck into fiercely boiling water for 5 seconds (be careful!) remove, and immediately plunge into iced water for 5 seconds to stop the cooking.
  6. Remove the duck and dry it. Mix the ingredients for the glaze and paint the duck with it. This will give the finished duck its succulent, dark red sheen.
  7. The duck is now hung up to dry in a cool place for 6 hours or so (TFD note: try putting it in front of a fan and rotate the duck throughout the drying period – do NOT attempt to make this recipe on any day with high humidity – it will ruin the dish!)
  8. Now comes the fun part – cooking this bad boy!
  9. Ideally, you want to cook this in a ceramic outdoor grill such as the Big Green Egg. Attach (if possible) an S-ring to the top of the Big Green Egg lid. This is where you will hang the duck from as it cooks.
  10. Add wood charcoal (NOT BRIQUETTES!) to the left side of the Egg and heat until glowing. Add some pine branches that have been washed well and left wet. The idea is you want indirect heat on the duck.
  11. Using a metal skewer, pierce the duck neck skin and hang the duck from the S-hook. Close the Big Green Egg and cook for 50 minutes, checking frequently to see how the duck is coming along. As the pine branches burn off, sweep them to the side away from the charcoal and add more wet branches.
  12. Brush the duck with the liquid lard at least twice during the cooking process.
  13. When cooked, remove, cut into pieces and serve with a mixture of ground Sichuan peppercorns and kosher salt, plum sauce, and some minced white part of scallions combined with peanut oil.
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