Crispy Duck

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

I’ve always thought one of the best ways to eat duck was as the Chinese do, but I had never thought it would be so easy to cook. I say “cook.” I do nothing except cut some fat off the duck and sit it on a rack in a pan and put it in the oven for hours on end. Then I take it out, set to with some forks, and put some store-bought Chinese pancakes on to steam. I chop and slice cucumber and scallions and open a jar of hoisin sauce. Actually, come to think of it, I nearly always ask someone else to open it for me. This could hardly be easier. What’s more, children seem to adore it, which makes it a really lovely family Saturday dinner. It’s easy to add another duck if there are even more of you eating.


Cooking Methodroasting, steaming



Total Timehalf-day

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Five Ingredients or LessYes



Taste and Texturemeaty, savory, umami


  • 1 duck
  • 4–6 store-bought Chinese pancakes
  • 10 oz jar hoisin sauce
  • ½ cucumber
  • 6 scallions


Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Cut off the flap of fat that hangs over the duck’s cavity. Sit the trimmed duck on a rack or slotted tray over a deep roasting pan and roast for 4 hours.

Turn the oven up to 450°F and give a final 30 minutes of intense heat. Or, if it’s easier, just leave the duck in the low oven for 5½ hours. The choice is yours.

Sit the pancakes on the top part of a steamer to cook or simply follow instructions on the package. Pour the sauce in a bowl with a spoon.

Cut the cucumber into matchsticks (like you get in a Chinese restaurant).

Cut the scallions lengthways into short strips (again, like they do in Chinese restaurants).

Carefully take the roasting pan out of the oven and transfer the duck onto a board. When you can handle it comfortably, shred it and set it on the table with the sauce, cucumber, scallion shreds, and pancakes. Wrap the duck meat, topped with the sauce, cucumbers, and scallion, in the pancakes. When the duck fat has cooled a little, pour it into a bowl or jar. It makes great fried potatoes.



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