Lockdown Duck - 19th March 2021

Lockdown Duck

Lockdown Duck! Inspired by #sunwahbarbecue Chicago, Illinois, I decided to have a go at making a Peking duck. This recipe is created by researching Peking duck recipes and coming up with a simple alternative method you can do at home with a few simple ingredients from your kitchen cupboard. I tend to shop for ingredients rather than ready meals, so I have many ingredients in my kitchen cupboards. I have made other versions of roast duck many times, so I had a little background knowledge to start with, so by doing a little more research, I got to work. My taste buds were my guide to creating the flavour that I so desired. You can use fresh or dried herbs and spices. I happened to use dried on this occasion, as it is what I had. 

You need to be patience to make Peking duck. Although fairly simple to do, the process takes a while. 1-3 days depending on if your duck is fresh or frozen. You could do day 2 and 3 together and reduce the waiting/drying time by a whole day and also further shorten it by another day if you have a fresh duck! I took my time with it, but the choice is yours! Leaving the duck longer allows the seasonings to reach right to the bones, and allow the skin to sufficiently dry out, producing a lovely crispy skin which is what this duck is famous for, and appreciated even more than the succulent meat!!!

I teamed this with the GENNY GRAHAM Original Pepper Jelly which is a little unconventional, but very nice!

Serves 4-6  

This is how I did it! 



1 1 ½ -1 ¾ kg/ 3 ½ - 4lb duck frozen or fresh

1 tblsp sea salt crystals

2 tsp five spice powder

3/4tsp dried ginger or 3 tsp chopped fine fresh ginger 

1 1/2 tsp. garlic granules or 3 cloves garlic

2 tsp. demerara sugar


1 tbsp. vinegar

1 tbsp. soy sauce 

3 tbsps. maple syrup (Get creative! I used what I had. Honey, agave will also work but as these tend to be sweeter, reduce the amount by 1 tsp. How about dissolving some demerara sugar?)

4-5 tbsps. water


Day 1. Morning 

  1. My duck was in the freezer. It took the whole day to defrost, but during lockdown, a duck is a prize to have. I just needed to wait for it to defrost!

Day 2. Morning

  1. Wash the duck inside and out, taking off any remaining feathers and removing any undesirable sinus. 
  2. Boil a kettle full of water and over a large pot; carefully pour the boiling water all over the duck. Don’t miss a spot. The skin begins to shrink back opening up all the pores. 
  3. Use kitchen paper to take off most of the moisture. 
  4. Then seasoned only the inside of the duck by thoroughly rubbing the whole cavity of the duck with the mixture of sea salt, five spice powder, ginger, garlic, and sugar. 
  5. Sew up the duck at the bottom and top! What? I hear you say! Yes! Sew it up! When the duck is roasting in the oven the skin will expand and move away from the meat allowing it to become crispy!
  6. Hang the duck for a day from a meat hook over a bowl to catch the drips, until it is dry and the skin is papery. If you haven’t got a meat hook, try to hang it with string from under the wings.

Day 3. Morning. 

  1. Make a glaze with the vinegar, soy sauce and syrup and brush all over the duck and hang up to dry. After about 30mins repeat this process and hang again for at least 5 hours. I used maple syrup, as that is what I had. Apparently, the Chinese use maltose to make the glaze, which is not overly sweet but very sticky. 
  2. By evening the duck was dried out and the skin was papery, so it was time to roast it. 
  3. Heat the oven up to 180C/350F; place the duck breast side up on a rack over a deep tray with about 2cm water. 
  4. Roast the duck for 15 mins, then turn the oven down to 130C/170F and roast for 40-45 mins turning the duck over half-way through or until the duck is deeply golden and the skin is crispy all over!
  5. Take the duck out of the oven and let in cool down for about 15mins before carving!

Then it’s down to you how you enjoy this Lockdown duck! Have it with rice or noodles and stir-fry veg, or if you’ve got them or can spare to time to make them, with steamed Chinese pancakes, cucumber, spring onions and hoisin sauce! Mmmmm!

I was so pleased with how this turned out! The skin was crispy, the meat was juicy and flavoursome! I can’t wait to do it again, but perhaps after this lockdown episode is over, as I don’t have another duck in the freezer. Maybe I’ll try something like this with a chicken!!!

Thanks for checking in!

Jenny x

Posted 12th Feburary 2021