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Following the Many Steps of Making Tea-Smoked Duck

[Photos: Sharon Stirling/]

OK, so it isn't Peking-style duck, but chef Liu Chaosheng makes a killer tea-smoked duck that is traditional in his home of Chengdu. Eater's Sharon Stirling visited the chef's Hong Kong Palace to observe his duck-making process. Take a visual lesson through the photo gallery above or see below the many steps it takes to cook a delicious tea-smoked duck.

The steps:

1) Chef Liu starts by toasting salt with whole star anise and Sichuan peppercorns. Next he slices up a generous amount of ginger and scallions.

2) He then splashes the duck with Chinese cooking wine and rubs the salt mixture inside and outside the duck.

3) He fills the cavity with the sliced ginger and scallions and then tightly sews up the duck with a metal skewer.

4) The duck will then go into a bucket or tray to sit and marinate for 4-6 hours.

5) Next comes a mixture of jasmine tea leaves, rice, bay leaves and a little flour (to help the mixture smoke). That all gets put on aluminum foil and into the bottom of a large pot.

6) The pot has a bar that runs across the top and is designed for hanging and smoking the ducks.

7) Chef Liu smokes his birds for one hour. He then moves them into a steamer to cook for two hours. Finally the duck gets tossed into the fryer for 7-8 minutes to crisp up the skin.

8) Served chopped but still on the bone, tea smoked duck is eaten with rice rather than on pancakes like Beijing duck. The duck is succulent with a shatteringly crispy skin and, true to its name, has a distinct tea flavor.

—Sharon Stirling

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