- 1 gallon brewed tea
- 1 gallon water
- 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 3/4 cups kosher salt
- 1 dried ancho chile, or 1/2 dried guajillo chile
- 6 lemons, cut in half
- 6 limes, cut in half
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 2 (4 to 5-pound) ducks, giblets and neck removed, well rinsed and patted dry
- Tea Glaze (recipe follows)
- 2 cups light corn syrup
- 1 cup dark corn syrup
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 3 tea bags
Make the brining liquid, combine all the ingredients except the duck and the glaze in a large heavy pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let cool completely (or chill in an ice water bath until cool).
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the ducks 1 at a time to the boiling water and poach for 3 minutes. Remove with tongs and add the ducks to the brine and weight with a small plate to submerge them. Refrigerate at least 24 hours, or up to 48 hours, turning the ducks occasionally.
Remove the ducks from the brine with tongs and place on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Pat dry with paper towels. Pour 1/4 cup of the glaze onto the top of each duck, rubbing to coat evenly. Refrigerate uncovered for 24 hours. During this time, spread 1/4 cup of glaze on each duck 3 times, every 6 to 8 hours.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Remove the ducks from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.
Spread 1/2 cup of the glaze over each duck, rubbing to coat evenly. Roast until deep golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F and roast until the skin is a deep mahogany color and the juices run clear, 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the roasting pan every 30 minutes to prevent the dripping glaze from burning. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.
With poultry sheers, cut along either side of the backbone and remove. With a sharp knife, cut through the breastplate and remove the rib cage.
Place 1 duck half on each of 4 plates, drizzle with tea glaze, if desired, and serve.
In a large heavy saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the tea bags and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to a thick syrup, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Add the tea bags and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Remove the tea bags and discard. Let the glaze cool before using. (The glaze will keep for up to 1 month, refrigerated, in an airtight container.)
Yield: about 2 1/2 cups