I've been grilling baby octopus since I was a teenager. I remember my mother braising them with wine. The whole house sure did smell amazing. I liked them that way but loved the chargrilled flavour that only a BBQ can provide even more.
The question I get asked all the time on social media is if I boil them first. No, I don't. I truly believe you don't get the same amazing chargrilled flavour when you boil them first. Hundreds will argue with me over this but I stand by the 'no boil' method because I know it works.
I also get asked how to grill tender baby octopus without it being chewy. There are a few factors that contribute to a tender outcome. Let's look at 5 important points to remember when grilling baby octopus!
5 Important Points To Remember When Grilling Baby Octopus
- Use pre-frozen baby octopus (freezing tenderizes it).
- Marinate baby octopus for at least 4 hours.
- Don't undercook octopus. It's the biggest and most common reason it turns out chewy.
- Always serve octopus hot off the grill. The only time I wouldn't is if I was braising or pickling it.
- Use a skewer to probe the thickest part of the baby octopus whilst its on the grill. When the skewer slides in easily and with little resistance, they're ready!
(TIP: Cooking for guests? Keep a 'test' baby octopus aside and taste test as you go until you're confident grilling them)
My Chargrilled Baby Octopus Recipe
Always ensure your BBQ is preheated.
Octopus (baby and large size) needs to be grilled over direct high, hot heat whether you're using charcoal, gas or a pellet grill.
1 kilo (2 pounds) cleaned and washed baby octopus
(I buy my octopus already cleaned. If yours isn't cleaned, remove the beak and eyes before marinating)
1/2 cup olive oil
3 teaspoons of dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon of sea salt
3 crushed garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Juice of 1 large lemon
Step one - Add baby octopus and all marinade ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Step two - Grill baby octopus on a hot BBQ for 3-5 minutes a side, until slightly charred. Use the basting mixture to brush the baby octopus whilst it's sizzling on the BBQ.
Step three - Remove the baby octopus from the BBQ and place them in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss until the baby octopus is fully coated.
I would love to see your grilled baby octopus on Instagram. Be sure to tag me - Come Grill With Me, so I can check it out. Love, Irene XO