In Melbourne, a city full of food and obsessed by coffee, I cook, I eat, I share the good news and the bad. essjay eats

Tea Smoked Duck

Duck rubbing spices - Version 2

At the Collingwood Farmers’ Market yesterday I bought some duck, basically on a whim, from Milawa Chicken. I was remembering the gorgeous lightly smoked confit duck salad I’d had a Gerald’s a few weeks ago, and also I was looking for a filling for some dumplings to stock up the freezer.

The two plump breasts (about 500g) were just beautiful, firm in texture and a lovely colour.

I trimmed them a little bit, but not much, rinsed them and dried them well then with a sharp knife I scored through the skin and fat so that you could see the meat underneath.

Duck smoking

Spice rub

  • 1 tsp star anise
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt.

I started breaking these down in my mortar and pestle and finished them off in a spice grinder.  Rub the mix into the cuts and the underside of the fillet. Then I placed them on a rack in an open container in the fridge for a few hours while I went off to the movies.  The flavour will infuse in this time and the skin will dry out a bit.

So now I need to set up my wok as a smoker.  Line it with a double layer of foil and tip in ½ cup of my tea smoking mix.  Put the wok on a medium heat and in 5 – 7 mins smoke will start to form.  Brush most of the rub off the duck (I forgot to do this, which is why my duck looks so dark) Place the duck in a steamer (you can see I’ve used a clean Chux underneath it) and pop on the lid.  Smoke for 7 mins.

I’ve been asked about smoking inside: I smoked this duck, and the tomatoes previously in my small kitchen with the door open and the extractor fan on full.   The smoke seems to just curl around the food, it doesn’t go up in a plume, so it seems quite contained.  Although the rest of the house faintly smelled of smoke for a few hours afterward, it doesn’t smell like it now, a day after.

Pre-heat a heavy fry pan, and when the duck is smoked – pop it into a hot frypan, skin side down, and turn the heat to medium.  After 6 mins turn it over and cook for a further five.  Test the duck  by poking it – or using a meat thermometer.  I think duck should be served quite rare.  Let it rest.

Smoked duck cooked


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of Chinese cooking wine
  • dash of sesame oil
  • dozen pitted cherries chopped in half.

While the duck is resting, pour out the rendered fat from the fry pan and wipe with paper towel.  Toss in the cherries and  half of the dressing.  Season with pepper.

Slice the duck diagonally across, serve with salad (I used cabbage, cucumber, watercress and fried noodles) add cherries and dress with reserved dressing.

Smoked duck salad with cherries

**Thanks for the inspiration Mario


6 thoughts on “Tea Smoked Duck

  • I wonder if my butcher will get me duck… think this would work with chicken? Oh wait, injera just said tea smoked chicken. D’oh. Shall have to give this a go !

    Comment from: Celeste @ Berrytravels

  • How did those dumplings go? I love the idea of buying duck on a whim… cooking up some whimsical duck… We’ve done tea smoked chicken before and it was good – must try it with some other meats sometime.

    Comment from: Injera

  • @Bells It’s just one of those things I rarely cook at home – but it’s so worth it! Can’t wait to make the dumplings tonight to see how they turn out. A good way to spread a little bit of protein a long way. Let me know how you go if you try it. SJ

    Comment from: essjayeats

  • oh my god this looks incredible. Duck is such a weakness for me. I reckon I could give this a go!

    Comment from: Bells

  • @curdistheword Welcome and thanks – I don’t know why I don’t cook it more often (it was a spectacular lunch today as well). Yes I have had duck prosciutto, it’s nice but not as a nice a good smoked duck – there is a great one occasionally on the menu and Gerald’s.

    Comment from: essjayeats

  • Nice one, looks great! Duck never ceases to amaze.
    Ever tried duck prosciutto? Apparently it is possible…

    Comment from: Curdistheword

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