Grilled octopus is a challenge and fascination for me. I’ve had memorable eating experiences when its tender and delicious, and I’ve suffered through chewy challenges as well. Like all cooking adventures, the goal is to ensure this delicacy is cooked well!
Octopus and particularly the arms, are relatively high in collagen. Collagen give strength and shape in the active state, but when cooking, needs awhile to cook for a longer point of time to soften and tenderize. This can be achieved, by boiling. Otherwise, your octopus will be chewy and rubbery. I grilled the octopus on the lowest rack of a Gateway Drum Smoker to add a slight smoke flavor.
Grilled Octopus Taste: savory, slightly smoky balanced with white wine and lemon juice
Grilled Octopus Tenderness: soft, succulent (except the very tiny ends of the arms that crisped up)
Fun Octopus Facts:
- Octopus has 3 hearts, 8 arms, 9 brains
- Each arm or appendage is controlled by an independent brain that is all coordinated
- Octopus has blue blood due to lower oxygen levels in the ocean and greater efficiency to move it around
- Octopus in the plural sense, octopuses. Octopi is not a word.
- Each arm, not tentacles, has round cavities called suckers that are sensitive and help with grip
- Destined for a short life span, octopuses die after mating
- 1-1.5 lb Octopus(es) cut a large slit on head down to the center point of octopus, remove insides and beak (hard dark bit against the center of the octopus)
- Large pot
- 64 oz or 2L water
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 + tablespoons white wine
- Kosher salt
- Boil a large pot of water.
- Meanwhile, rinse octopus under cold water.
- Slide octopus into hot water and boil for 30-90 minutes until the octopus is tender. Don’t be afraid to open the window, the smell of boiling water is not attractive.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat grill or smoker to 400F.
- Use tongs to remove octopus from boiling water and put into large bowl. Discard pot of water.
- Add garlic, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of white wine and a light seasoning of kosher salt to large bowl. Toss octopus in seasoning.
- On the hot grill or smoker, lay octopus on the grill or smoker as close to the heat source as possible. Set aside bowl with seasoning..
- Sear or grill octopus on high heat about 10minutes, when arms color or char.
- Remove seared/ grilled octopus and place back into bowl of seasoning, toss and season with additional kosher salt and white wine to taste.