If you've ever ordered a delightfully meaty and tender, charred octopus dish at a restaurant and immediately thought to yourself, "Wow, I wish I could make this kind of thing at home," well—you can. And this recipe is going to light the way. Whether you're looking to dazzle your company at your next dinner party or wanting to make something extra special for a date night in, this grilled octopus dish is definitely worth stepping out of your cooking comfort zone for. As intimidating as it may seem, preparing octopus at home is easier than you'd think. Octopus can be found at specialty grocery stores (such as Whole Foods), fish markets, and Asian or international markets. The key to preparing this wow-worthy seafood at home is giving the meat a preliminary cook (no matter how you intend to proceed in preparing it) in order to tenderize the meat. In this recipe, we first simmer the octopus in a flavorful, aromatic-filled cooking liquid and finish then finish the cooking on the grill to develop bold, caramelized flavor and crispy char. We especially love how this preparation for octopus is so rich in flavor, but not at all heavy. Served alongside a vibrant Baby Bok Choy Slaw, this dish is as elegant as it is comforting. 


Credit: Kelsey Hansen; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe Summary

45 mins
2 hrs
Serves 2-4


Ingredient Checklist
Korean Barbecue Sauce


Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare the octopus, use kitchen sheers or a sharp knife to separate the tentacles from the head by cutting just above the area where the legs come together (above the beak). At this point, you can divide the tentacles or leave whole.

  • Combine water and all remaining cooking liquid ingredients in a large, enamel Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Add octopus to pan and simmer for 45-60 minutes (15-20 minutes per pound of octopus), until very tender when pierced with knife.

  • Turn off heat and, keeping the octopus submerged; let come to room temperature.

  • Remove octopus from the liquid. With a damp paper towel, wipe away skin and peel away the gelatinous, fatty layer from the meat. Chill meat until ready to use (the octopus can be prepped up to 3 days ahead).

  • To prepare the barbecue sauce, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, lemongrass, and ginger to pan; sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine; simmer for 5 minutes. Add water if needed to thin sauce to desired consistency.

  • To grill the octopus, heat a well-oiled grill to medium-high to high heat. Once hot, place tentacles on the grill. Using a brush, baste tentacles with the barbecue sauce 2-3 times per side. Continue to flip and rotate the meat until well-charred and glazed, 8-10 minutes total. Serve with remaining sauce and Baby Bok Choy Slaw

Chef's Notes

 Serve with lime wedges; garnish with fresno chile slices and fresh cilantro leaves.