M. Andrew Gordon

Peking Duck

In Dinner Party, Main Dish, Poultry on December 13, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Cooking Peking Duck is no joke and not something one should undertake on whim.  The trouble is that there is a time-honored technique which is difficult to adhere to in the modern American kitchen.  It requires pouring a boiling hot orange syrup over the bird to flash-cook the skin, then hanging the bird for days.  Yes, days.  Although the FDA warns against such activities as they have to worry about nasty little microbes.  This drying process allows the skin to crisp better when the duck is roasted, sweating out moisture.  The duck is then roasted at a high temperature to achieve the desired golden brown skin which is the hallmark of Peking Duck.

I made mine by having the duck dry in the refrigerator for several days before hanging in the open air for a lengthy afternoon session in front of a fan.  None of the diners reported feeling ill.  And I ate leftovers for several days afterwards.

Peking Ducks; the wire trusses allowed me to hang the birds to dry before roasting.

Peking Duck with homemade pancakes

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