When making duck, we first pierce the skin all over and steam the bird, allowing much of its abundant fat to render. We then grill-roast it, keeping the cooking environment (and the meat) moist while allowing the fat to continue to render and the skin to turn crisp.
Placing the bird over a disposable pan ensures that the fat doesn’t hit the coals, reducing flare-ups.
We also employ a two-step glazing method. A sweet glaze is crucial, but the traditional honey burned and turned the duck skin black on the grill.
So the first glaze has soy sauce, sesame oil, and five-spice powder to flavor the bird as it cooks. The second glaze of honey, vinegar, and soy sauce goes on last, to darken to that deep mahogany color.