Peking Duck

Avatar photo
Recipe by
Comments Off on Peking Duck
| Servings: Serves 4

Method: Indirect grilling

Advance Preparation: 24 hours for drying the duck skin, although we believe you need to leave it in the refrigerator for at least two days.

Authors Notes:

Peking duck is one of the glories of Chinese gastronomy. I never thought of it as barbecue until I visited Macao. This tiny Portuguese enclave, located an hour south of Hong Kong by hydrofoil, boasts some of the best food in Asia. (That’s what happens when you marry two cultures who love to eat: the Portuguese and the Chinese.)

You won’t find Lam Yam Wing in any of the guidebooks, but to come to Macao without visiting the restaurant would be to miss a major gastronomic experience. The real pride and joy of the house is Peking Duck, which has been brushed with honey and roasted to the color of mahogany. The waiter carves the skin into crackling crisp shards and serves it with silver dollar-size scallion pancakes. (No papery Peking pancakes here, but velvety, delicate, thin crêpes.) The actual meat of the duck is returned to the kitchen, to be stir-fried with shallots and garlic. This recipe is inspired by Lain Yam Wing.

Cooking duck in a covered grill using the indirect method produces a succulent and crisp duck without a lot of mess and work. Leaving the duck to dry uncovered in the refrigerator overnight crisps the skin even more.

Here, then, is a not strictly traditional, but eminently tasty Peking duck cooked on the grill. Don’t be intimidated by the length of the recipe—the actual preparation time is minimal. I’ve included a recipe • for scallion cr~pes, which you can make while the duck cooks. If you’~ in a hurry, you could use packaged Peking pancakes or even flour tortillas, but neither is as delicate as the crêpes. – Steven Raichlen


For the Duck

  • 1 duck (5 pounds), thawed if frozen
  • Salt and freshly ground black popper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 scallion, both white and green parts, trimmed
  • 3 thin slices fresh ginger
  • 1tablespoon Asian (dark) sesame oil

For the Sauce

  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice wine or sake
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

For Serving

  • 16 Scallion Crêpes or/2 Peking pancakes or flour tortillas
  • 16 scallion brushes (see note on recipe for the Scallion Crêpes above)


  1. The day before you’re serving, remove and discard the fat just inside the body cavities of the duck. Remove the package of giblets and set aside for another use.
    Rinse the duck, inside and out, under cold running water, then drain and blot dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Place the duck in a roasting pan and let stand, uncovered, in the refrigerator overnight to dry out the skin. (see our note above about longer drying).
  2. Set the grill up for indirect grilling, placing a large drip pan in the center, and preheat to medium-low.
  3. Season the body cavity with salt, pepper, and half the five-spice powder. Place the garlic, scallion, and ginger slices in the body cavity, then turn the duck over on its breast so the back side is up. Using the tip of a sharp, slender knife, make 1 small slit In the fatty part of the duck under each wing and 1 slit on the underside of each thigh. Prick the duck skin all over with a fork, being careful not to pierce the meat. Brush the duck all over the outside with sesame oil and season by rubbing the skin all over with the remaining five-spice powder and salt and pepper.
  4. When ready to cook place the duck, breast side up, on the hot grill grate over the drip pan. Cover the grill and cook the duck for 1 ½ hours.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Combine the hoisin sauce, honey, soy sauce, rice wine, garlic, and ginger in a small, heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer gently, uncovered, until well flavored and syrupy, about 5 minutes.
  6. After 1 ½ hours, turn the bird on its end over a bowl to drain off any juices that accumulate in the cavity;, discard the juices. Reprick the skin with a fork and make fresh slits under the wings and thighs to encourage draining. Continue cooking the duck until the skin is mahogany brown and crackling crisp and the meat is well done and tender, another 30 to 60 minutes. An instant read meat thermometer inserted in the inner muscle of a thigh, not touching the bone, should register 170°F If using a charcoal grill, add 10 to 12 fresh coals per side after each hour of cooking.
  7. Transfer the duck to a platter. Present it to your guests, then, using a sharp knife, carve the skin and meat off the bones. (You may want to do this in the kitchen.) Spoon the sauce into small bowls or ramekins, one per guest. Arrange the duck meat and skin on one platter, the crêpes and scallion brushes on another. Have each guest brush a crêpe with sauce, using a scallion brush. Place a slice of duck skin and meat on the crêpe (and a scallion brush, if desired) and roll it into a cone for eating.


Source: The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen, page 280

  1. As we said above we suggest leaving it in the refrigerator for at least two days.
  2. On a weber gas use MOM and cook for 1 hour, then drain as described above and cook for 25 minutes more until crispy.