The other day, MOIKEL, one of our SMF members posted a delicious dish of stuffed smoked squid. (Check it out here: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/111859/calamari-ripiene-e-fornato-calamari-stuffed-oven-baked) 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 squid......so I dredged up a tutorial I'd made for my kids last winter, and am happy to share it : Squid, Calamari, Calamar, Pulpo, Octopus, Cuttlefish...by 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 this...no 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.