Dry-Marinating Ducks

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Chinese Technique

By Ken Hom

Published 1981

  • About

Salt and five-spice powder make a fragrant dry marinade, which draws some of the moisture from the duck so that the spices penetrate the bird. The marinated duck is then steamed to firm it and cook it, then is finished by deep-frying or smoking. Chicken and squab may also be prepared this way.


  • 3 tablespoons coarse (kosher) salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole Sichuan peppercorns, roasted and crushed
  • 2 teaspoons five-spice powder


  1. Press down hard on the duck’s breastbone to flatten it.

  2. Rub the dry marinade over the trimmed duck.

  3. Rub the dry marinade inside the cavity.

  4. Put the duck on a baking sheet and cover it with another flat sheet.

  5. Weight down the top sheet with a pot filled with water to flatten the duck and to make it release some of its own moisture. Let it marinate like this, in a cool place or in the refrigerator, for 2 days. Use the marinated duck to make Smoked Tea Duck, or steam it for 2 hours to cook and render all the fat. Let it sit at room temperature for several hours to dry, then deep-fry in about 4 cups oil until crisp.