My mom makes the most amazing Salt Water Duck. Like many traditional Chinese dishes, it’s not that pretty, but when you try the texture of the meat, you will see why this unique cooking method has been past down for centuries. I don’t know of any other method to create meat that has this kind of bounce and juiciness. The best part is, it’s amazingly easy.

Salt Water Duck

  • 1 (4 1/2 pound) headless duck
  • 4 quarts of water + extra
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt + extra for sprinkling
  • 1″ diagonal slice of fresh ginger, smashed

1. Prepare the duck: Cut off excess fat. Cut off the tail. (My mom said this is essential because the tail will impart an off-tasting gaminess to the duck.)

raw duck

2. Cut open the chest cavity, from top to bottom so that the duck can lay open. Wash thoroughly. I keep the neck (tucked into the cavity) and discard the innards. Pat dry with a paper towel.
3. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt all over the duck, inside and out. Sprinkle the neck lightly.

salt the duck

4. Put the duck and neck in a tupperware container and store in your fridge overnight.
5. Take the duck out of the fridge and rest on your counter. In a 8 quart pot, combine 4 quarts of water, 1/2 cup kosher salt, and ginger. Bring to a boil.
6. Place duck and neck in the water and bring back to a boil. (The water should cover the duck. If it doesn’t, add more water.) Allow to boil, uncovered for 5 minutes. Turn off the flame, cover, and allow to sit for 5 hours. Don’t touch until it’s done! I know you are thinking, is it really cooked through? That’s what Lon asked and in disbelief, he saw that it was.

salt water duck

7. Serve as soon as possible at room temperature. It’s usually cut up with a cleaver but you can eat it any way you want. Store whatever you don’t finish in the fridge and eat within a few days. The texture will be best the first day in room temperature, but still pretty good after.

cut up salt water duck

The neck is my favorite part.


Traditionally, the fatty skin is eaten, but I pull most of it off. I do think it’s delicious but I also want to stay in decent shape. But, Lon really hated the skin part, but he agreed that the meat was great.
posted by jessica at 07:22 PM Filed under Chinese, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.