How To Clean A Squid

Discussion in 'Non-fish Seafood' started by rivet, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The other day, MOIKEL, one of our SMF members posted a delicious dish of stuffed smoked squid.

    (Check it out here:

    My wife and I love squid and octopus, and prepare it often. Thinking about making Moikel's recipe I realized that many folks may not know just how to clean or prepare a I dredged up a tutorial I'd made for my kids last winter, and am happy to share it :

    Squid, Calamari, Calamar, Pulpo, Octopus, whatever their name are all cleaned and prepared for cooking in the same way. Some, like octopus, are much larger than their cousins, the calamar, and easier to handle, however the technique is the same.

    The squid is a "cephalopod", which means it is a creature whose head has tentacles attached to it on one end, and a body attached on the other. Squid are very tasty and have been a source of good eating and nutrition for sea-coastal people as far back as recorded history shows.

    Around here, we can only get ours frozen, but that's fine. Good-quality, frozen seafood is never something to argue over, especially when one lives in the MidWest.....


    Inside the box, the squid are nicely arranged. You can buy either raw, fresh-packed whole squid like this, or cleaned squid- your choice- though the cleaned squid is a lot more expensive. These spent the last couple days in the fridge thawing out, but they are still kind of stiff and icy.


    A squid is made up of essentially three separate parts. From top to bottom, there is the body, then the head, and finally the tentacles. You can see this below:


    The only parts that are really edible are the body and the tentacles, each providing delicious, meaty seafood. The head gets tossed away, or used for bait. You can also use them to make seafood broth. The tentacles, which are arranged pretty-much like a grass hula-skirt, are slit into a strip and layed open. The mouth of the squid which contains a beak, like a parrot's beak, is a hard little sphere slightly smaller than a pea; this is tossed too. On a giant whale-fighting octopus, one half of the beak can be much bigger than an adult's hand.

    Once the beak and mouth are removed, the tentacles can be cut up, and saved.


    The last part of the squid is the body. It is cylindrical in shape and contains the ink sac, the internal digestive organ and a long piece of cartilage much like a chicken's keel bone.

    I cut a body lengthwise to show this.


    If you're gonna stuff the squid, then you don't want to slit open the body. Just find the edge of the cartilage and pull it out like this. Squeezing the opposite end of it helps this all come out easily.


    If you don't get it all out, just gently put your finger in and scoop it out like worries!


    Once done, you have a nice tube of good tasting meat perfectly ready for stuffing!


    If your recipe doesn't call for stuffing the squid, then cleaning is easily done by slitting open the body as I did before and with the edge of the sharp knife just quickly scraped out. Then, the body sliced or chopped for however you need it.
  2. Very nice tutorial, thanks for taking the time. 

    And you managed to work in the word "cephalopod".  Bonus points for that...
  3. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I used to catch them 4 and 5 foot long down in Baja ...Great eating...Thanks for sharing that..
  4. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Nice tutorial Rivet[​IMG]. At market recently there were 4x types of squid, 3 grades of octopus & 1x cuttlefish without counting Asian imports. 

    Roller I have never seen a squid that big at market, must be fun to catch. I might post an octopus dish if theres interest.
  5. teeznuts

    teeznuts Master of the Pit

    Thanks Rivet! Thats the only brand of whole squid I usually see here in California. I've never messed with it because I wasn't comfy dealing with the ink sac. You made it seem easy so maybe I'll try it. Calamari is one of my favorites.
  6. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Ink sack is water soluble,so as long as you have plenty of running water its OK. Lot of European cookery calls for the ink to be used to flavour risottos ,pastas etc. Honestly. I dont get the taste myself.
  7. larrym

    larrym Meat Mopper

    I am only one in the family on both sides that loves cephlapods.  Agree that a good flash frozen one is the best we can get in midwest, they just dont ship well.  I miss the old Navy days in Italy,, standing on piers with the old men and a couple bottles of wine,, we would just stand there n jig them for hours. 
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Very nice tutorial, Rivet !!!


  9. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Yep and they are a dark Red color. It was off the coast of LaPas you had to play them real easy or the hook would tear from there mouth. You had to use a real shinny jig about 6 in. long.. Hugh schools of them....
  10. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    I hooked into a really huge one, years ago.

    I fought it for hours, and never gained an inch.

    It surfaced twice & it looked like the one Kirk Douglas ran into.  [​IMG]

    I grabbed my knife & jumped in after it.

    I lost my knife in the tussle, and it killed me & ate me.  [​IMG]

    Worst day of fishing I ever had !!!!  [​IMG]

    I think even Rivet would have had trouble with that one!

    Sorry no Qview,

  11. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Your a funny guy Bear !!!!!! A real funny guy....LOL...[​IMG]
  12. teeznuts

    teeznuts Master of the Pit

    I had some seafood pasta made with the ink and all i got was a black mouth. Wasn't that impressed.
  13. hardslicer

    hardslicer Smoking Fanatic

    ok, something I will never make....but very educational just the same...thank you  [​IMG]

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