There are millions of grills across the country that get put away after Labor Day. Not this Grillin’ Fool. This is my favorite time to grill by far. It makes sense if you think about it. For most of the summer here in St. Louis, the temps are over 90 and so is the humidity. That’s not the best weather to stand next to a roaring hot grill. No, when it gets a little chilly is the best time to grill when standing next to that scorching fire feels good. And one of my favorite nights to grill is Halloween. This is the perfect recipe to combine the grill and the macabre holiday on the last day of October.
Spooky Squirmy Squid Ingredients:
1 lb squid
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (sweet sake’)
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, grated
5 turns white pepper (can substitute black)
1 tsp fresh chives, finely chopped
I left the star of the recipe out of the ingredients picture because I want to address the calamari separately as it comes in two forms. The body, which is white and tubular when the skin is removed and may or may not contain a long quill or spine that looks like clear plastic. Of this squid that came pre-prepared, there was still one quill in one of the bodies that I had to remove. Just give it a tug. It will come out clean:
And the other part of the squid is the legs or tentacles. These pieces will give that real wow factor when you serve these on Halloween:
To prepare the squid, check the center of the legs for any beaks (tiny, hard bits) and the bodies for quills and then slice the bodies into thick rings:
Next, combine the rest of the ingredients except for the chives in a mixing bowl, give it a whisk and add the squid:
Some are wondering how I’m going to grill the calamari considering the pieces are all pretty small, as grilled calamari can easily be scorched squid in the coals after falling through the grill grate. You’re expecting the next picture to be a grill pan, but that’s not how I grilled it. I planked it!
But grill planks are expensive? $10 for two at the local grocery store, right? So don’t buy them there. I buy them at OutdourGourmet.com. I can get them for less than $2/plank and free shipping. Click that link and so can you.
Soak two smoking planks, in this case alder, in water for about 30 minutes. I know the instructions will say soak for 60, but calamari cooks really fast, so we want to get some smoke before the squid gets rubbery so only soak the planks for 30 minutes, which happens to be how long to soak the calamari in the marinade.
Fire up the grill for high heat grilling (500+ degrees) and then place the planks on the grill to warm up:
After three minutes, flip it over and add the squid:
That is only about half the squid. The other half went on another plank.
I grilled this at sunset and had a hard time capturing the smoke with the sun blaring at me. This is the best I could do:
After five minutes, check the grilled calamari every minute or so to make sure you don’t overcook the squid and make it rubbery. At the 8-10 minute mark it should be perfect.
Remove from the grill and place the planked squid in a festive cup like this skull wine glass and garnish with the finely chopped chives:
Here is a close up of the squid:
How great does that look? The perfect spooky Halloween grilling recipe. And I highly recommend going the extra mile and finding the mirin which is sweetened sake’. You could use regular sake’ and add some sugar, but this stuff is outstanding. This marinade is awesome on shrimp too!
If you have any questions/comments about this spooky Halloween grilling recipe, leave them below or shoot me an email.
- 1 lb squid
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup mirin (sweet sake')
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 5 turns white pepper (can substitute black)
- 2 smoking planks
- 1 tsp fresh chives, finely chopped
- Remove the quill or spine from the bodies of the squid and any beaks from the legs
- Cut the bodies in thick rings
- Combine the rest of the ingredients except for the squid, planks and the chives in a bowl and give a quick whisk
- Add the calamari to the marinade and then drop the planks (in this case, alder) in water and soak the squid and the planks for 30 minutes
- Prepare the grill for high heat grilling - 500+ degrees
- Place the planks on the grill for three minutes to warm up, flip over and place the squid on the planks
- At the 5-6 minute mark, start checking the calamari every minute or so to make sure it is grilled properly and doesn't get rubbery
- When cooked through (8-10 minutes) remove from the grill, place in a festive cup or bowl, garnish with the chives and serve