When I see any recipe for octopus, it's almost always boiled first. Harold McGee says to chuck it in the oven (dry)

The point is, when ever any one fries/BBQ's octopus, they always fry/BBQ cooked octopus.

My question is about why does it have to be this way? My research potentially suggests one of 2 things, but I'm unsure.

  1. By boiling/oven first, you get a more even cook
  2. Frying only would make it chewy

In my case, I don't (think) I want to cook the entire octopus, but instead, semi defrost it (until I can chop the arms off (so it would remain mostly frozen)), remove the arms, refreeze and cook the arms as and when needed

If I were to cook an arm only by frying, is there any danger here or do people cook it twice (when frying) for taste/texture?

  • Defrosting and refreezing seafood (or meat) is not a good idea from a sanitary perspective.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Sep 2, 2019 at 19:50
  • Do you want the answer to your question about food safety, or your question about good cooking? It's not clear from the above.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Sep 2, 2019 at 19:52
  • 1
    Also, see the first answer to this question: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/62401/…
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Sep 2, 2019 at 19:53
  • @FuzzyChef would I need to ask 2 questions if I said both :) I was worried about asking about good cooking due to the nature of a response being opinionated (I'm used to the techy sites on SE which needs to allow clean answers). If possible, both, if not, then good cooking (although I have updated my question)
    – Dave
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 6:46
  • Interesting question. Might be why I always got an almost unbeatable octopus by simply bbq-ing it.....
    – Alchimista
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 10:21

1 Answer 1


Actually, Harold McGee supports brine-and-simmer as an alternative to baking, and explains the texture-related goal behind both: octopus contains a lot of connective tissue, and both that and the muscle need to be softened.

I've read elsewhere (can't remember the source right now) that octopus muscle fibres contract and drive out their water at unusually low temperatures, such that the ideal cooking temperature is 55C. You're going to want long cooking times at those temperatures, so we're talking either sous vide or deep-fat frying in a temperature-regulated fryer.

  • Hmmmm... I guess frying would be difficult because if it "leaks" water as it'll end up poaching instead of frying! If it's already cooked, then I guess it's about heating through only
    – Dave
    Commented Sep 2, 2019 at 12:49

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