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  • Writer's pictureHoldMyGFBeer

Easy, Tender Grilled Octopus (Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free)

I LOVE tender, grilled octopus! Because I am lucky enough to live in an area with lots of authentic Greek restaurants that are experts at preparing it, I never bothered to give it a try at home. Then, lockdown happened. After a few months, my octopus craving was back. So, during my latest trip to the fishmonger, I picked up a beautiful, fresh whole octopus in the hopes of not screwing it up. lol

Easy, Tender Grilled Octopus (Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free)

My octopus was already cleaned so prep was super easy. Just a quick rinse under cool water and then I removed the hard beak. This is done by simply pressing down on the head to push the beak out between the tentacles. Use your fingers to pull out the beak and discard. The beak is two pieces, but may come out as one.

Easy, Tender Grilled Octopus (Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free)

The next step is to tenderize the octopus. Technically, you could simmer it in plain water. However, I was trying to replicate the awesome depth of flavor from the local restaurants so I added olive oil, wine, red wine vinegar, onion, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Then, I let it simmer on low for about 1.5 hours for a 3.5 lb octopus until it became fork tender. This time may be as little as 30 minutes if your octopus is small or up to 2 hours for larger ones.

Easy, Tender Grilled Octopus (Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free)

While the grill was preheating, I cut up the octopus and gave it a quick marinade. Cutting up the octopus is really quick and simple. First, locate the eyes on the head. Cut off the head below the eyes, gently cut out the eyes, and then cut the rest of the head into large strips. You might also want to remove the skin from the head (it pulls away easily with your fingers) for a more tender bite. Next, cut the tentacles apart and add them to the marinade.

When your grill is heated to medium-high, give it a coating of oil to prevent the octopus from sticking (be careful of flare-ups!). Shake the marinade from the octopus pieces, place them on the hot grates and grill them for about 2-3 minutes per side until lightly charred. Serve immediately or cut them up for cold salads, add to pastas, use in sushi... you are only limited by your imagination! :)

Easy, Tender Grilled Octopus (Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free)

Easy, Tender Grilled Octopus (Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free)


For the Octopus Simmer:

  • 1 large octopus or 2-3 small

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 onion, peeled and halved

  • 2 bay leaves

  • A few peppercorns

  • Water, as needed

For the Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  • 2 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper


  • Rinse the octopus with cool water and remove the beak. Place directly in a pot that will fit the octopus. Add the ingredients for the "Octopus Simmer" and as much water is needed to just cover the octopus. Cover and simmer, turning occasionally, over low heat for 30-90 minutes until the octopus is fork-tender.

  • While the octopus is simmering, whisk the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl.

  • When the octopus has finished simmering, remove it from the pot and cut the tentacles away from the head. Add the octopus pieces to the marinade bowl and gently roll to coat.

  • Preheat the grill to medium-high and coat the grates with oil. Set the octopus pieces directly onto the grates (be careful of flare-ups from the marinade oil!). Let each brown for 2-3 minutes. Rotate to develop a char then place onto a platter with and extra marinade. Garnish with lemon wedges and enjoy!

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