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Aug 6, 2006 11:25 AM

Peking Duck from scratch at home..we tried it...has taken all weekend !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dear Chowhounds..last week I posted a query re the above.
Here's how we went.
Brought a fresh duck at the market early on Saturday morning.
Got hoisin sauce, scallions,cucumber, pancakes from the asian grocer.
Went home...very focussed, on a mission.
Got out duck and attempted to loosen skin from the bird by the bicycle pump method, this was about as effective if I had bent down and tried to inflate the skin by blowing under it myself by mouth !!!
So my husband perservered and seperated the skin by gently prizing his fingers beneath flesh & skin. 25 minutes of massaging and prizing later, we thought we'd done sufficient.
Then we dunked it into some boiling water.
Then we glazed it with some melted Maltose, ginger, soy,chinese rice wwine.
Then Hung it in the bathroom with a fan on it. It seemed to dry ok , then we basted it again and left it to dry. The second basting must have proved too much stickiness as the next 24hrs of fanning would not dry the duck.
Decided to roast Sunday evening in the beefeater hooded BBQ, thankgod this was outside...smoking, spattering.. I was glad it wasn't in the house and destroying the oven !!
Skin came out ok..meat was reasonably good.
It was a far cry from restaurant quality, but not too disappointing for a first home attempt.
This duck has dominated our weekend. Even getting the needle to sew the skin of the ducks cavity took about 6 phonecalls and trips to 2 shops in the city.
We've just eaten it all with a bottle of sparkling shiraz...we feel a little flat..but we will have another go !
Thanks for all the tips and comments on m last post. If I work out how to add the pics of the duck at various stages, I'll add them to this post.

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  1. That sounds adventurious and talk about a kitchen project :). I love Peking Duck but have never ventured to make it at home since reading the instructions seems daunting to me...

    At my fav chinese restaurant you have to order Peking duck two three days in advance so you get a high grade indeed for perseverance!

    1. Congraulations! Roasting Peking duck is a huge task. Are you going to continue on your quest for perfection?

      1. kudos for giving it a go at home .... a question: when you say that you glazed the duck with the maltose, soy, etc. liquid - was it boiling hot? this is an important detail. and when it comes to sewing the cavity back up - it doesn't have to be needle & thread tight. a bamboo skewer will do fine. If you're doing Peking Duck there is no wet marinade in the cavity - it shouldn't have much liquid to leak out. The regular Cantonese Roast/BBQ duck has a wet marinade and it needs to be sealed up a bit better - but you can still use a skewer and then a twine wrap just to be safe.
        It's been a long time since I used a bicycle pump to "inflate" a duck - it is pretty much a two person job. I broke down and got an air compressor ( Black & Decker Air Station for $20+ back in the day) and that makes it real easy. Oh and by the way, did you buy a duck with the head & neck on? It would be hard to do with a regular duck with the neck chopped off. Not that I recommend it but in Hong Kong I saw guys blowing up ducks with their mouths - make a slit in the neck and there you go! Need a good set of lungs! Talk about convenience: ducks that were already "blown" were available at the poultry stores.
        are you going to give it another try? :~)

        1 Reply
        1. re: gordon wing

          Actually, the second glazing the liquid had cooled down a fair time 1 glaze and piping hot. Yeah our duck had a head or beak though, they told us they are not allowed to sell it like that ( this is in Melbourne, Australia)...ok..
          Re the air-compressor... I had a fleeting thought of us taking the duck to the petrol station and using the tyre pump there...oh can you funny !
          We also got an electric rotisserie to go in the BBQ, but it was the wrong mounting brackets so couldn't get it to operate...once we get that sorted it will be great...nice even browning all over... we will TRY again...if there's a reasonable improvement we will almost be converts...the biggest stress was worrying that it wasn't going to work and if we were doing all the various steps correctly.

        2. Look for one of Ken Hom's cookbooks on Chinese Cooking - he has several of them. Chinese Technique, Chinese Cookery or Foolproof Chinese Cookery. His recipes are relatively simple.
          Check out this image ...

          1 Reply
          1. re: gordon wing

            Got to agree on Ken Hom's books. I ahve made a few of his ducks and they came our great!! I made a few changes based on ideas from "secret of Chinese Cooking" and watching duck cooks in Taipei. Some changes: really slash skin (not too deep), especially around breast area, Used dried orange peel and a bit of lemon juice along with other ingredients when scalding. Dunked 2x briefly and then steams (used a deep pasta pot with collander for this). I'd like to make Barbara Tropp's cinnamon duck one of these days...

          2. i love this story and laughed out loud during the inflating the duck part. Growing up, my step-dad (who worked in Chinese restaurants) made Peking duck with the bicycle pump and I recall rolling my eyes in typical adolescent fashion. The end product was good but not up to restaurant quality and soon there were restaurants in Toronto (my hometown) that served a good version. Good luck with future attempts and if you use the pump at the petrol station, be sure and take photos.