Smoked Tea Duck

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

    as an appetizer.

Appears in

Chinese Technique

By Ken Hom

Published 1981

  • About

This is a cold dish that can be prepared well in advance; in fact, we find that ducks smoked 2 days in advance are more flavorful. Chicken and squab can be dry-marinated and smoked in the same way. Reduce the steaming time according to the size of the bird; allow 15 minutes per pound for chicken, 30 minutes for squab.

The smoking process doesn’t actually cook the duck. It adds flavor to a duck already cooked by steaming and changes the texture of the flesh to something similar to that of ham. A covered barbecue grill (such as any of the kettle-type barbecues on the market) is perfect.


  • 1 whole duck, 5 to 6 pounds, trimmed, dry-marinated for 2 days
  • 6 slices fresh ginger root, cut into 3-inch sections
  • 6 whole scallions, cut into 3-inch sections

For Smoking

  • 1 cup raw long-grain white rice
  • 1 cup dark Chinese tea leaves
  • ½ cup brown sugar or hickory chips


Steaming, smoking

  1. Stuff the cavity of the duck with the ginger and scallions.

  2. Steam the duck (see Steamed Chicken with Sausage) for 1 hour 15 minutes (for a 5-pound duck) to 1 hour 30 minutes (for a 6-pound duck) to draw out the fat and to cook the duck gently, keeping it moist. Drain the duck and remove the ginger and scallions.

  3. Make a bed of charcoal in the barbecue and ignite it. When the surface turns to ash, set a metal pie plate containing the smoking ingredients on the coals.

  4. Cover it with a grate and set the duck on the grate.

  5. Cover the grill and smoke the duck for 45 to 50 minutes, turning it every 10 to 15 minutes to brown it evenly. Check the coals periodically to make sure they don’t die down.

  6. Serve the duck whole and cut it up at the table, or cut it up Chinese-style.

  • May be smoked up to 2 days ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to serve. Allow to reach room temperature.
  • Suggested Beverage: Young, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon or Barolo