Sichuan Tea-Smoked Duck

Traditionally prepared with a whole duck, this updated stir-fry lends duck breasts a gentle, caramelized smokiness. It first appeared in our December 2013 issue along with David McAninch’s article The World of Duck.



2 tbsp. kosher salt

1 tbsp. Sichuan peppercorns

2 tsp. whole black peppercorns

2 lb. boneless skin-on duck breasts (about 2 large)

2 tbsp. shaoxing wine or dry sherry

½ cup long-grain white rice

½ cup loose-leaf black tea, such as Ceylon or Darjeeling

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 star anise

2 tsp. peanut oil

8 oz. shiitake mushrooms

8 oz. baby bok choy, trimmed and quartered lengthwise

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

1 (2″) piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped

⅓ cup duck or chicken stock

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. soy sauce

3 fresh small Thai red chiles, thinly sliced


1. Grind salt and peppercorns in a spice grinder into a powder. Toss duck with spice mixture and wine in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; chill overnight.

2. Next day, rinse duck and pat completely dry with paper towels. Place skin side down on a stove-top smoker rack set over a baking sheet and cover with a paper towel; set aside to air-dry, about 2 hours.

3. Line bottom of smoker with aluminum foil. Pile rice, tea, brown sugar, and star anise in center of smoker; arrange rack with duck over top, discard paper towel, and close lid. Place over high heat until you see wisps of smoke, 3–5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; smoke duck until cooked to desired doneness, 25–30 minutes for medium-rare. Let duck cool slightly, then transfer, skin side down, to a 12″ skillet. Place over medium-high heat; cook, without flipping, until skin is crisp, 3–5 minutes. Rest duck 5 minutes, then thinly slice; set aside.

4. Add peanut oil to skillet; return to medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook until golden, 3–5 minutes. Add bok choy, sesame oil, and ginger; cook until slightly wilted, 1–2 minutes. Stir in stock, granulated sugar, and soy sauce; bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thick, 3–4 minutes. Stir in sliced duck and chiles.

Sichuan Tea

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