Peking Duck ala La Cajita China

Duck has been roasted in China since the Southern and Northern Dynasties.  A variation of roast duck was prepared for the Emperor of China in the Yuan Dynasty.

The dish, originally named “Shaoyazi,” was mentioned in the Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages manual in 1330 by Hu Sihui, an inspector of the imperial kitchen.

The Peking Roast Duck that came to be associated with the term was fully developed during the later Ming Dynasty, and by then, Peking Duck was one of the main dishes on imperial court menus.

The first restaurant specialising in Peking Duck, Bianyifang, was established in the Xianyukou, Qianmen area of Beijing in 1416 [Wikipedia]

Beijing’s most famous dish, Peking Duck is traditionally served with Mandarin pancakes. I’ve modified this dish slightly for roasting in La Cajita China.

You can find step-by-step recipes in my cookbook, La Caja China Cooking, as well.

Peking Duck ala La Cajita China

2 – 5 to 6 pound duck
12 cups water
1/4 C powdered ginger
6 scallion, cut into halves
1/2 C honey
1/4 C rice wine vinegar
1/2 C sherry
6 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 6 tablespoons water
Scallions for garnish

Clean ducks. Wipe dry and place each duck on a “beer-can chicken” stand. Set in a cool room in front of a fan for 4 hours to dry. (See note.)

Bring a large pot with water to boil, and add ginger, scallion, honey, vinegar, and sherry.

Boil 10 minutes, then pour in the dissolved cornstarch, stirring constantly.

Place one duck in boiling water, count to five and remove.

Place the second duck in boiling water, count to five and remove. Repeat for 10 minutes.

Place ducks on “beer can” racks again, in front of fan, for 6 hours until thoroughly dry.

Turn every 30 minutes.

“Pre-heat” La Cajita China with 10lbs of charcoal. When all coals are covered in white ash, oil the roasting rack and place ducks, breast side up, on rack.

Place the rack in the roasting pan with 2 inches of water in bottom, and close up the box, and add another 5lbs of charcoal.

You goal temperature inside the box is 350 degrees.

Roast 20 minutes.

Turn ducks, add 5lbs of charcoal, and roast 20 minutes more. Turn breast side up again. Roast 5 minutes more, until crispy and browned to your liking.

Remove ducks from La Cajita China and allow to rest 10-15 minutes.

Use sharp knife to debone. Serve meat and skin immediately on a pre-warmed dish.

The duck is eaten hot with hoisin sauce rolled in Mandarin Crepes. Garnish with diced scallion.

Each duck serves 4 to 6.

Drying: I set my ducks up on “beer-can chicken” stands (instead of hanging them by the necks – the traditional method), in front of a fan, and turned them every 30 minutes. Worked perfectly!





Filed under In The Box Recipes

7 responses to “Peking Duck ala La Cajita China

  1. Chris

    This recipe produces a tasty juicy duck that is hard to stop eating.
    Thanks Perry, for the wonderful meal.

  2. Terry

    Perry’s Peking Duck was my first experience with this type of fowl. I have read quite a bit of about duck’s wonderful flavor and texture which can easily become too greasy. This application rendered a juicy, tender meat and crisp, tasty skin which was not greasy. The green onion, hoisin sauce and duck wrapped in the Mandarin Pancakes played together perfectly…too easy to consume way too much!

    Thanks Perry.

  3. Glad you liked it guys! Thanks for posting!


  4. I got you all linked up to the “Iron Chef Challenge” thanks so much for participating, I hope you will join us next month when the theme is lamb chops!!!

  5. Great, thanks! I’ll be sure to chime in next month, too. I love lamb!

  6. Jonathan Tsoi

    For the boiling stage. what do you do if you’re only making 1 duck?

  7. ChefPerry

    Jonathan, thanks for asking! Same directions, regardless of the number of birds. ~Chef Perry

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