You’re probably used to seeing an air compressor in a bike or auto shop — not so much in the kitchen of a Michelin-starred restaurant. But at San Francisco’s Mister Jiu’s, chef Brandon Jew learned that it’s a great tool for making his Beijing-style roast duck extra crispy.
“In the very beginning we used a bike pump,” says Jew. “That ended pretty quickly.”
Jew begins by placing the air pump in a cavity towards the bottom of the duck while holding the neck so no air escapes. This process separates the skin from the meat of the duck.
After the duck is filled up with air, Jew cuts off the wings and the legs.
“We’re trying to get this duck to be medium,” says Jew. “The meat should also be enjoyed as much as the skin.”
He says that prior to using this method with the air compressor, the meat sometimes came at a sacrifice of crispy skin. Jew also takes out the thigh bone, which allows the thighs to cook properly by preventing that area of the duck from cooking to medium, even if the breast is medium.
Jew then preps the ducks for blanching. To prevent the inside of the duck from getting blanched, the team cinches the skin, which allows it to dry out and get crispy, while preserving the meat inside.
Watch the full video to see how Jew and his team season and cook each roast duck.