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Dec 29 2009

A Christmas with Peking Duck

Published by at 12:39 pm under Cooking at Home,Parties

This year for our family Christmas gathering, Daniel wanted to make Peking Duck. Sure, it’s definitely easier to just go to a Chinese Restaurant and buy it, but where’s the fun in that? The only experience I’ve had with Peking Duck was, well, eating it! We both wanted to learn how to make it, so we did some research and found a lot of tips and advice, however, we prepared it the best way we could with our resources.

I’ve always enjoyed Peking Duck, a traditional course in many Asian weddings (even ours!), and yet I’ve never known exactly how it was prepared. No, you don’t just throw it in the oven to cook! There’s actually an entire day’s process before that! The main step to making great Peking Duck is that you have to dry the entire duck after pouring hot boiling water over it and rubbing it with all of the spices. That’s the secret to a crispy skin. So, continue reading to see our first hands-on experience with making Peking Duck.

I bought the frozen duck at the Asian market and defrosted it completely. The insides were removed, then we stuck a metal skewer through it so it would hang over our huge pot. We boiled a gallon of water and we poured it over the duck (as shown) in order to puff up the skin. This process helps to free the skin from the fat. The remainder of the fat will be released during the roasting so the duck will be moist, but not fatty, and the skin will be crispy.

We drained the hot water so that the duck can air dry. Next, we rubbed the duck inside and out with salt, white pepper, five spice powder, and hoison sauce. Let that rub marinate for a couple of hours. Then, combine corn syrup, honey, and rice wine vinegar and brush the mixture all over the duck. Hang the duck for 12-24 hours to let it completely dry.

The duck goes into a 450-degree oven to roast for 40 minutes until it turns into this beautiful color. Let the meat rest for 15 minutes after cooking.

Some people choose to eat the duck without the skin, but we think it's pretty tasty! You can eat the duck with the Chinese baos and some hoison sauce, or with the Mandarin-style pancakes.

It was too hectic to get a final picture during our holiday party, so I took a photo of the Peking Duck in a sandwich I made the day after. The skin isn't as golden, but it still tasted delicious! The meat is still moist and the combination of the hoison sauce and scallions made it a great lunch. Peking Duck is quite complicated to make, but it was rewarding when we were able to delight our family members with this meal! Not too shabby for our first attempt. :)

To view or print-out this simplified version, click here: Peking Duck

28 responses so far

28 Responses to “A Christmas with Peking Duck”

  1. cessy831on 29 Dec 2009 at 12:42 pm

    what a feat–kudos to the foodaddicts!

  2. Alta (Tasty Eats At Home)on 29 Dec 2009 at 12:57 pm

    So I have seen the ducks hanging at room temperature for the 24 hours or so to dry – is that what you did? Or did you place your pot in the fridge and allow the duck to air dry there? I just bought a frozen duck from the Asian grocery – definitely want to try this!

  3. thefoodaddictson 29 Dec 2009 at 1:32 pm

    We basically hung the duck in the pot at room temperature for 24 hours. We have seen people use a fan to help cut the drying time in half.

  4. ravenouscoupleon 29 Dec 2009 at 2:56 pm

    impressive!! Daniel=MacGyver? Can’t wait to see the rest of your feast!

  5. Shirley Bon 29 Dec 2009 at 3:12 pm

    That looks so good! I’d love to try cooking it myself but looks like a lot of work. Your food looks wonderful as usual!!

  6. thefoodaddictson 29 Dec 2009 at 3:26 pm

    shirley!! you finally left us a comment, hahaha. thanks! btw shirley, you were one of the few that got to try the peking duck, so you should’ve let us know what you thought of it… i heard Tori said she loved it!

  7. Arleneon 29 Dec 2009 at 4:08 pm

    I was under the impression that you had to use a bicycle pump to blow air into the skin and stretch, leaving it that way for at least a day. Your skin looked wonderfully brown. I haven’t had a good Peking duck in over 15 years. I used to love to go to NYC’s Chinatown for it and have mentioned as much to DSO at least a dozen times in the last few months. Time for a field trip.

  8. Conor @ HoldtheBeefon 29 Dec 2009 at 4:34 pm

    I love Peking Duck, and it looks like you’ve done a mighty fine job making it at home. The best part about making it yourself…? Leftovers! :D

  9. Jaraon 29 Dec 2009 at 5:37 pm

    This looks incredibly delicious. My family is having peking duck for our New Year’s celebration and after seeing this, it’s made me even more eager to have some. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and an even better New Year! :)

  10. thefoodaddictson 29 Dec 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Kim – Daniel is like MacGyver in the kitchen.. yes. Haha. BTW, we did the Soup Man Cua and it was great, except I couldn’t get it to be a thicker consistency. Will try it again since I still have a can of white asparagus and quail eggs. Mmmm….

    Hi Arlene. Yes, there are some recipes out there that suggests that you pump air into the skin. Air is blown between the skin and meat of the duck and air-dried until the skin feels like parchment paper. This was way too complicated for us, so we decided it to do it our own way without the air pumping. It all depends on how meticulous you are about your peking duck. Ours turned out pretty good for skipping this step.

    Conor – Totally agree with you on the leftovers when you make it at home. Also, we have all of the duck bones too which would make a great broth or soup!

    Jara – Hope you have a wonderful feast with your family on New Years. Peking Duck is always a crowd pleaser.

  11. kathyvegason 29 Dec 2009 at 7:50 pm

    I love duck and have made it at home using your method a number of times…it’s fun to make and oh so good….great instructions and photos!

  12. Jeanaon 29 Dec 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Love this. You make it seem “do-able” and I will be giving this a try. Thanks!!!

  13. dokuzuncubuluton 29 Dec 2009 at 10:49 pm

    When ı read this recipe. I’m getting hungry…

  14. TasteHongKongon 29 Dec 2009 at 10:54 pm

    So nicely roasted! Whoever doesn’t take its skin can pass it me.

  15. penny aka jeroxieon 29 Dec 2009 at 11:03 pm

    OMG! Beautiful beautiful skin! That looks just incredible!

  16. Divinaon 29 Dec 2009 at 11:14 pm

    The photo looks great. I absolutely love Peking duck. I don’t have the patience to make it though. :D

  17. deana@lostpastrememberedon 30 Dec 2009 at 6:41 am

    Awesome… my skin never looks like that….I had given up hope and quit trying… you have inspired me to give it another go… Thanks!!!!

  18. Noelle @Opera Singer in the Kitchenon 30 Dec 2009 at 10:10 am

    Nice recipe and pictures. Someone on Twitter was asking for a recipe and I tagged your recipe to them!

  19. wasabi primeon 30 Dec 2009 at 11:35 pm

    WOW. The color on that duck is just… breathtaking. I know this is not an easy thing to do, and it looks like you did an absolutely amazing job.

  20. noobcookon 31 Dec 2009 at 12:16 am

    I think the skin is the best part in peking duck! What a nice meal to celebrate Christmas. Happy 2010!

  21. Faith Krameron 31 Dec 2009 at 8:42 am

    You make this look so doable!
    My mouth is watering.

  22. Fresh Local and Beston 31 Dec 2009 at 10:53 pm

    This peking duck looks amazing! I can’t believe you made this at home!
    Wishes for happiness and blessings in the coming year.

  23. Rachel Jon 02 Jan 2010 at 8:10 am

    Congrats on such a lovely duck! It truly looks tastier than any other Peking Duck I’ve had in a Chinese Restaurant. I’m coming over for next Christmas, ok? JK! Wishing you and yours a Happy and Healthy New Year

  24. Bromographyqon 03 Jan 2010 at 6:40 pm

    The duck turned out wonderfully! I am very impressed.

  25. Tina Marieon 04 Jan 2010 at 9:03 am

    What a wonderful success! Your first time, really? I thought it looked great…I love duck but hardly ever cook it.

  26. mycookinghuton 11 Mar 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Looks absolutely delicious!

  27. cathyon 14 Mar 2010 at 7:38 pm


    i am friend’s with lan anh and she told me about you. i have been following your blog and i am really impressed! and i am deeply impressed with the peking duck! WOW!!! i look fwd to reading your blogs.

    cathy =)

    p.s. i think we are neighbors, cuz i live close to lan anh.

  28. Meglioon 01 Jun 2011 at 4:01 am

    Hi! Nice stuff, please tell me when you post again something like this!

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