Season the ducks
In a mortar or spice grinder, grind the garlic, tangerine zest, coriander, five-spice, 2 Tbs. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper to a coarse paste.
Make 20 to 30 small slits in the skin of each duck, using a sharp paring knife held parallel to the duck surface so that you pierce the skin and fat but not the meat. Be sure to make slits on the backs and thighs as well as the breasts. Rub about two-thirds of the spice mixture into the duck cavities and then rub the remaining all over the skin. Set the ducks on a rack over a large rimmed baking sheet and allow to air dry uncovered in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours.
Roast the ducks
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Let the ducks sit at room temperature as the oven heats. Arrange the ducks breast down on two small V-racks in a large roasting pan and roast for 1-1/4 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and spoon or pour off most of the fat from the roasting pan—use a turkey baster if you have one. Flip the ducks, using sturdy tongs inserted in the cavities, and pierce the skin again all over with a knife. Continue roasting the ducks until the meat around the thighs feels tender when prodded (a skewer should penetrate the thigh with no resistance), the legs feel loose in their joints, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh near the joint reads 175°F, 45 to 60 minutes more.
Glaze the ducks
Remove the ducks from the oven, and increase the oven temperature to 500°F. In a small bowl, whisk the hoisin, orange liqueur, honey, tangerine juice, and sesame oil. Transfer the ducks (on the racks) to a rimmed baking sheet. With a brush, paint the breasts and legs with a thin layer of glaze and return to the oven. Paint again after 5 minutes and continue roasting until mahogany-color, 3 to 5 minutes more.
Let the ducks rest for 5 to 10 minutes before carving.
To drink: A good match for the rich duck is a bright and acidic Riesling, like the Weingut Münzberg Riesling Kabinett 2007 ($20). It’s well balanced with sweet, juicy fruit and perfect acidity on the finish. Hints of pear and green apple, too.
nutrition information (per serving):
sat fat g
Photo: Scott Phillips