I love me some duck. Love. Love. Love. Sadly, Mrs. Dude finds duck rather too fatty, so when I prepare duck, it has to be de-fatted. This recipe from Smoke & Spice does just that. And it's smoky, spicy and ducky. Perfect.
Start with a couple of ducks. Prepare this rub:
¼ cup cracked Szechuan peppercorns¼ cup peeled and minced fresh gingerminced zest of 2 oranges1 ½ tbsp coarse salt1 tbsp ground cinnamon1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
Szechuan peppercorns aren't actually peppercorns (and they're available at Asian markets or from Penzey's). The night before, mix the rub together, and rub it all over the outside and inside of the ducks. Indeed, rub it under the skin of the ducks, as best as you can without ripping the skin. I find this is slightly more challenging with ducks than with chickens. The duck skin seems to adhere to the meat more tightly than chicken skin does. Nonetheless, you can get this rub stuffed all over the breast and the legs. Place the ducks back in the fridge.
The next day, make the tea. Bring 12 cups of water to a boil with:
5 tbsp black tea leaves
Steep the tea for ten minutes, then sieve out the tea leaves (and reserve the leaves). Put the tea in a big pot that you can fit a bamboo steamer in.
Place the bamboo steamer in the pot.
Place the ducks in the steamer. Steam ducks in the tea for an hour and a half over medium-high heat. This serves to extract the fat from the ducks. There will be a ridiculous quantity of duck fat at the bottom of the steamer when you're done. Delicious, Szechuan-seasoned duck fat.
Place the reserved tea leaves plus:
3 whole cinnamon stickspeel of 1 orange in large pieces1 tbsp szechuan peppercorns2 star anise
into a small pan. Prepare your smoker to smoke at 200°F with the pan filled with aromatics.
Once the smoker reaches 200°F, place the steamed duck into the smoker.
Smoke the duck for 5 hours, using hickory for smoke, until it's turned a delightful color and has absorbed that delicious smoke flavour.
Let the duck rest for 10 minutes.
Carve and serve. This duck is smoky, spicy and has that unique Szechuan peppercorn flavour. Very tasty. And just the right amount of fat to keep it still rich flavoured without being greasy. Yum.