Tea-Brined Mahogany Duck
Adapted recipe by Leitesculinaria
Original recipe by Mary Karlin | Wood Fired Cooking
- For the tea brine
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 cup Darjeeling or oolong tea leaves
- 3 slices fresh ginger
- 2 star anise pods
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- Two 3-pound ducks, or one 5-pound roasting chicken
- For the basting sauce
- 1 cup reserved tea brine
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons honey
Make the brine:
Combine the water, tea leaves, ginger, and star anise in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. In a large nonreactive container, combine the steeped tea, soy sauce, and honey and stir until the honey is dissolved. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Add the bird(s) to the brine; refrigerate ducks for 4 hours, chicken for 6 hours. Keep the bird(s) submerged by placing a plate on top to weight down and at a temperature of not more than 40°F (4°C). Remove from the brine 1 hour before cooking. Rinse and pat dry.
Prepare a medium-hot fire 400°F (200°C) in a wood-fired oven or cooker.
Make the basting sauce:
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until the honey is dissolved.
Roast in a box roaster:
Place the bird(s) breast side down on a wire roasting rack in a roasting pan or clay baker and baste with the basting sauce. Light the charwood once the bird(s) is in place. Roast, covered, with indirect heat for 1 hour. Being careful not to pierce the skin, turn over, baste, and roast for 30 to 45 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in a thigh registers 175° to 180°F (79°C to 82°C).
Roast in a wood-fired oven or ceramic cooker:
Place the bird(s) breast side down in a roasting pan and baste with the basting sauce. Roast for 1 hour. Being careful not to pierce the skin, turn over, baste, and roast for 30 to 45 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in a thigh registers 175° to 180°F (79°C to 82°C).
Let sit for 10 minutes before carving and serving.