Throw an Octopus on the BBQ
  |  First Published: December 2011

I love the flavour and texture of barbequed baby octopus, especially as all those little tentacles hold the flavours from your marinade or sauce fantastically.

Most of the baby octopus that you buy will be already cleaned for you. But if not, a baby octopus is actually simple to clean. Make a shallow cut at the back along the head and be careful not to cut too deeply or you may rupture the intestines.

Separate the halves of the head and discard the intestines. Push your finger up into the body and push (just as if you are turning the octopus inside out. The small black beak should pop out. Discard this beak. Now you are good to go with barbequing your octopus.

Grilled Octopus Asian Style

In the ingredient list for this recipe is three tablespoons of salt. Don’t be concerned, the salt is used to rub into the baby octopus to remove any sliminess and is then washed off the octopus.

Serve the barbequed octopus with oriental hoi sin dip or try tumbling the octopus with udon noodles and the hoi sin dip. It’s delicious either way!


500g baby octopus

3 tbsp Lee Kum Kee salt reduced soy sauce

1 tbsp Yeos sesame oil

1 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp salt

2-3 tbsp Obento mirin

Hoi Sin Dip

2 green shallots, finely sliced

1cm piece ginger, peeled and grated

1 red chilli, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely grated

3 tablespoon Lee Kum Kee hoi sin sauce

½ cup tomato passata

1 teaspoon Yeos sesame oil


Pour some cold water into a medium sized bowl and add a handful of ice cubes.

Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar in a separate small, glass bowl and stir well to combine. Place this bowl to one side while you prepare your octopus.

Sprinkle the salt over the octopus and massage with your fingers to remove any sliminess from the octopus. Put the octopus in the iced water and swirl it around to remove the salt. Drain the octopus well and pat dry with some paper towel.

Sprinkle the octopus with the mirin and leave it stand for about 10 minutes.

Heat your grill and spray lightly with some non-stick cooking spray. Place the baby octopus on the grill and brush them frequently with the soy sauce mixture.

Allow a little space between each octopus so that they fry rather than steam. The grilling process should only take about five minutes. Test by cutting off a small portion of octopus and tasting. Take care not to overcook the octopus or it will become tough.

The Hoi Sin dip is best made just before use. Combine all dip ingredients in a glass bowl and serve with the barbequed baby octopus.

BBQ Baby Octopus with Garlic, Chilli and Lime

Prepare the baby octopus for this recipe the same way as in the previous recipe. Rub the octopus with about three tablespoons of salt to remove any sliminess and then rinse in some fresh water. Drain well before cooking.


1kg baby octopus

3 cloves garlic, finely grated

2 tbsp Thai sweet chilli sauce

2 limes, (one cut into wedges, one juiced)


In a large glass bowl, add the baby octopus, garlic, chilli sauce and the juice of one lime. Thoroughly combine the ingredients. A clean pair of hands is probably the best tool for this job.

Allow the octopus to marinate for a couple of hours. The lime juice will assist the octopus tenderising process.

Preheat your barbeque or grill plate to a medium heat.

When the barbeque is hot, remove the octopus from the marinade and pop them onto the plate. Leave a little space between each octopus so that they fry rather than steam. Again, the cooking process should only take about five minutes depending on the size of the octopus. To test, cut a small piece off one of the octopus and taste.

Serve with the Hoi Sin Dip.

I like to offer at least two varieties of the same theme ‘nibbling’ food when I serve them. It makes good dinner conversation for diners to be able to discuss which version that they like best.

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