Grilling Octopus: Is It the Same As Barbecue? | BBQ&A | Southern Living

Grilling Octopus: Is It the Same As Barbecue? | BBQ&A | Southern Living

(heavy metal music) Look at that thing! I had to put it back down. It was squirting out some ink. (heavy metal music) I’m here today with Chef Michael Lewis from KYU, that’s K-Y-U down in Miami. And we’re gonna do something a little bit different today. We’re gonna be cooking some octopus. Would you call this barbecue? Technically it’s slow and low over a wood fire with smoke, and there’s gonna be a pot on the grill for a long period of time over smoke. I don’t know if it really counts as barbecue, barbecue. But it is a really cool alternative, and it’s a lot of fun. All right, well we’re gonna give it a shot. (heavy metal music) All right, so I got the octopus here. I’m gonna transfer it to the pot we’re gonna cook it in. So then I take a couple liters of water. It’s about two, three liters of water. It’s really just enough to make sure that the octopus is covered. He’s swimming, so he’s happy. He’s swimming, he’s ready to go. And then a couple of aromatics, I keep it super simple. So we got some onions and carrots. I take a chili, throw that in there. What kind of chili was that? That was a serrano chili, but you can use whatever you have. Okay. This is lemongrass. I’ve chopped it into slightly smaller pieces and then just bruise it all up and then you really get the flavor to start coming out of that thing.
Oh, yeah. And that’s where you get some of that Asian flavor. Exactly. This here is kaffir lime leaf. And so it’s a… It’s a lime, the lime itself from this tree is not super tasty, but the leaves are really, really aromatic and fun.
Oh, yeah. This is our way of imparting a citrus flavor without actually adding any citrus. Got some ginger.
A little bit of ginger, just peel that up, or at least wash it. I’m chopping it into some big chunks. Throw that in there. And then couple of cloves of garlic or even a whole head, just cut in half, it doesn’t matter, and just crush ’em up and throw ’em in there. So there’s all our aromatics. Now we need to season. So we’ll use a little bit of kosher salt and a little bit of soy sauce, and you’re good to go. So what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna throw this on the grill. And we got a nice hot fire going. He’s gonna simmer for about 45 minutes? About 45 minutes.
Okay. (upbeat rock music) So first we’re gonna make the dressing. So we call this a hearts of palm and red onion ceviche. Okay.
It’s not really a ceviche in traditional terms, but we’re using very similar ingredients as you would for ceviche. But then we put a little bit of a funky cut to it. I think technically it’s called the oblique cut. Just makes it pretty. Yeah, just makes it pretty for a cylindrical thing. It’s also a little bit easier to grab with the chopsticks. And we like to make everything kind of chopstick-friendly at KYU. We’ll add a little bit of sliced red onion, and we throw on a little bit of sliced green chilies. We’re using serrano again since we put it in there, but it can be anything you want. Does that mean it’s gonna marinate in some citrus? Exactly, exactly.
Okay. And that’s it, man. And I kinda let that marinate in the fridge for a little while. It’s good immediately. It’s good in an hour. And it’s good in two, three hours. Oh, great.
(upbeat rock music) Okay, so we’ve got our octopus. This has been off the grill now, and you’ve put it in the fridge. Yes. For how long? So just for about an hour or so. You just want it to get firm again. As it comes off it’s still kinda sign of jelly. So if we get it nice and firm again, then it’s easier for us to cut. So we have the head here, and then we have all the tentacles. And it looks a little bit intimidating, but if you flip it over, it’s super easy. So we got these perfect lines that kinda show you where each tentacle is. What we do is just kinda come up to each line and do like a wee little V-cut in there. And then we got a tentacle. Wow, look at at that! But take some smoked paprika and a little bit of olive oil, and by a little bit, I mean a lot. And we’re basically gonna make a little rub, all right? That’s it, just paprika and olive oil. That’s it. I like to use the smoked sweet paprika ’cause I feel like we have enough icy going on, so you don’t really need the hot one. It’s just super rich.
Yep. So just grab one.
Okay. Put it in here. I mean, you really get it on there. Get it on there, man.
Okay. Now that looks almost like a rib. I know, right?
(Sid laughs) Slather it up. And this is already cooked. Correct.
So we’re not cooking it. Right?
Correct. We’re just really getting some char on it? I really try to focus on the suction cups as well. If I can get some nice crispy, crunchy on that, then it has all those different textures going on. And this is a dish that you all serve at the restaurant? It is, yeah. This is one of our more popular dishes as well.
Is it really? Yeah, I mean, octopus is definitely becoming more and more of a thing. Yeah, wow, that’s beautiful. Look at that! It came out all right, no? And then I just come in here, get a little drizzle of that beautiful paprika oil you just made. Why don’t we go and have some octopus? Yeah, let’s go eat one. Okay, let’s do it.
All right, cool. This looks so good. So it’s super tender, right? That is delicious. Thank you. It tastes a little bit like it’s got this sort of rub on it almost like dry rub ribs. Exactly.
(Sid laughs) Well you have any advice for just average Joe who’s trying to become a better cook when it comes to barbecue? Just practice, ’cause there’s no exact science to it. I mean, you can read all the books, right? And this amount of meat with this amount of seasoning at this temperature for this amount of time, and that gets you pretty close. And just remember what you did right and what you did wrong. And whether that’s writing it down or taking a little note or whatever it is, but make sure you make note of everything that came out well and keep doing that over and over again to the point where it’s I got this. You don’t even need to think about it anymore. First thing you ever barbecued? I think the first thing I ever actually tried to barbecue, I tried to make my own bacon. So I was curing it, and I smoked it, and it actually came out all right. I heard you have a dog named Bacon. I do, I do. He is a 120-pound Alaskan Malamute. And I made a deal with my wife that I could name the dog and that she could name all the children. (Sid laughs)
And I think she got the better end of that deal. But I still have a dog named Bacon, so that’s pretty cool. It’s your last day on earth, last meal, what would it be? Like, right now?
Yeah (laughing). It would probably be arepas from my wife. My wife is Venezuelan, and she makes some of the most amazing food in the world, not just Venezuelan food, like, all food. It would probably be something from my wife and a slice of coconut cake from my mom. (Sid laughs) Yep.
That’s great. That’s great. She still make the coconut cake? Yeah, she does. I stole the recipe, and by stole I mean I asked her, and she gave it to me. And we adapted it at– And you guys serve a version of it at the restaurant. Yep, it’s called Mom’s coconut cake Oh, that’s great.
on the menu. I love it. And she’s way more famous than I am. (Sid laughs) She goes out to restaurants, and they’re like, “You’re mom? “Oh, can I give you a hug? “That’s the best cake ever!” She’s awesome. Well, Michael, you have taken us way outside of our comfort zone when it comes to barbecue, but whatever this is, it is fantastic! Fantastic, good, good. It was so great to have you here. Thank you, thank you, very much. Thanks for coming and I hope you’ll come back again sometime. Definitely, I really appreciate it. Bring some coconut cake with you. (laughing) I will.
All right, thanks Michael.
Thanks again. (upbeat country guitar music)

3 thoughts on “Grilling Octopus: Is It the Same As Barbecue? | BBQ&A | Southern Living”

  1. would it be ok to freeze some of the tentacles after boiling to bbq at a later date? or would it be better to freeze from raw? just got a big octopus and don't think we could eat the whole thing at once lol

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