• Gary Corcoran

Char-Grilled Tender Octopus

Updated: Feb 27, 2021

One of the best grilled octopus dishes I ever tasted was in a taverna in Athens, Greece. My sister and I were there running a marathon as a fundraiser for the Arthritis Society. At the end of the marathon I proposed to my girlfriend Gayle, now my wife.

Grilling octopus is not difficult. You just need to ensure you tenderize its tough collagen muscles before you grill it. There are many ways to do such a thing, from simply boiling it, pressure cooking it, sous viding it, to even beating it. Yes beating it. Using a rolling pin, or a wine bottle, gently pound the tentacles all over. Then boil for 30 minutes or so. Now you are ready to grill. Obviously, I prefer to boil mine with a bunch of aromatics.

Grilled octopus, photograph courtesy of my friend Steve Watson

Char-Grilled Tender Octopus


8 lbs baby octopus, cleaned by removing the beaks, eyes and internal organs

1/2 cup sea salt

6 whole onions, peeled and cut in half top to bottom

3 carrots, coarsely chopped

6 sticks celery, coarsely chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1/2 cup black peppercorns, crushed

13 bay leaves

1/4 cup vinegar

1 lemon, cut in half

In a large pot, bring enough water to boil to cover your octopus, about 3 - 4 quarts depending on size of your octopus. Add 1/2 cup of salt and remaining ingredients except your octopus.

Bring pot to a boil and reduce heat to medium low for 30 minutes to help develop flavour in your stock. Slowly dip each octopus 3 times in pot of boiling water. Then drop and simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour till tender. A fork should easily pierce the thickest part of the tentacle.

Allow octopus to cool. Remove the octopus arms (tentacles) from the body. Reserve body for another use.

Bring grill or charcoal BBQ to about 450 - 500 degrees.

Meanwhile add your octopus tentacles to a bowl. Add about 1/4 cup of good olive oil and move about to coat each tentacle with the oil.

Grill for 4 - 5 minutes turning frequently to get a nice light char on the tentacles. Serve with grilled lemon.

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