3 tbsp black peppercorns – szechwan
2 tbsp salt
1 bunch scallion
6 ginger root slices – no need to peel
4 star anise
1/2 cup rice – any kind
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup tea – lapsang souchong
6 whole cloves
3 whole star anise
1 strip orange zest – optional
sesame oil for coating
1 cup soy sauce – darkest
How to prepare
Truss legs together with string. Grind szechwan pepper corns. In small dry pan, heat 2 tbsp salt and the ground pepper corns until pungent and smoking. Cool, rub all over chicken, inside and out. Refrigerate chicken uncovered overnight. This is important for the skin.
Into the large pot with water-to-cover, add scallions, ginger, soy sauce and star anise. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes or more.
Place chicken into the rapidly boiling water and bring to a simmer and keep it in no longer than 10 minutes. (it will continue cooking while smoking)
using the harness string, hang chicken on a cabinet over your sink and dry for at least a couple of hours. The chicken should be pale brown from the soy sauce. (this is called”red cooked.”)
into a disposable foil pie plate layer the following: rice, brown sugar, cloves, star anise pods, orange zest and on top the black tea.
Place this on the bottom of a large stock pan (or a big wok) and place a rack over it. Place chicken on top. To facilitate cleaning up you may want to protect the inside of the cover with a sheet of tinfoil and possibly, even the whole pan.
Cover pan and use highest heat. Peek now and then and when your substance starts to smoke, reduce heat to medium. Keep pan tightly covered and smoke for at least 20 minutes. You’ll see the chicken turning mahogany brown. After 20 minutes, turn off heat and let chicken remain for another 10 minutes or so.
Remove chicken and when cool enough to handle, polish the skin with a small amount of sesame oil to make it shiny.