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Octopus Hot Dogs

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Octopus Hot Dogs are a fun and easy to make treat. You only need one ingredient: Japanese sausages (or regular hot dogs)! Make a few cuts to form the octopus "legs" and then pan fry till the legs curl up. Best enjoyed with rice.

Six cooked Octopus Hot Dogs in a cast iron pan.
Octopus Hot Dogs, ready to eat!

This is one of those recipes that are so easy (like Tuna Rice) that you hardly need a recipe! Think of this more as a guide or method.

We love things like Spam and hot dogs in Hawaii (hello, Shoyu Hot Dogs) Octopus Hot Dogs are another fun way to enjoy hot dogs.

This dish goes by several names:

  • Octopus Dogs
  • Spider Hot Dogs
  • Tako Sausages (Tako is the Japanese word for Octopus)
  • Tako Weiner (Thanks to Kat for sharing this one!)
  • Octopus Sausages

Why This Recipe Works

This recipe is a no brainer. Just make a few precise cuts in the hot dog or Japanese sausage. Then pan fry (you don't even need to oil the pan because there's enough fat in the meat).

The heat of the pan makes the "legs" curl up and get crisp. Then you are done! So easy.

This is a great dish for potluck parties, birthday parties (kids LOVE it when you make "eyes" on the octopus with black sesame seeds).

It's a fun visual dish, and more exciting to eat than "plain" hot dog or sausage because of the crazy texture contrasts you get from the crisp octopus legs and the juicy head.

It also makes for an easy lunch/dinner, serve it over a big bowl of rice! Sometimes I add a Pocket Egg on top if I'm feeling fancy.

The leftovers can be packed for school or lunch the next week. Just make a simple vegetable side dish (like Garlic and Ginger Green Beans) and you are set.

A package of Japanese sausage.
A package of Japanese sausages.

Ingredients

You only need one ingredient for this recipe:

6 Japanese sausages (or 3 hot dogs, cut in half)

Find Japanese sausages in the refrigerated section of most Japanese markets. These sausages are usually about 3-inches long and sold in packs of 6 or 12.

The most common brand is JFC and they sell 6-packs labeled as "Berkshire Pork Coarse Sausage." There's another brand (pictured above) that sells by the 12-pack. Both are tasty.

Arabiki sausages are another popular option.

No Japanese sausages? No problem! Use regular hot dogs. Cut the hot dogs in half for this recipe.

Six Japanese sausages, cut and ready to be pan fried into Octopus Hot Dogs.
Sausages, sliced and ready to be pan fried.

Step by Step Directions

Let's start cooking:

Lay the sausage/hot dog flat on a cutting board. Cut it in half - go all the way through but don't cut the top 30% of the sausage.

Note: The un-cut top part becomes the "head" of the octopus. This step forms two octopus "legs."

Turn the sausage over 90 degrees and make another cut. Now you have four octopus legs.

Pan fry the sausages over medium high heat (there's no need to add oil) until the "legs" curl up and get nice and browned.

Note: You don't have to worry about cooking the sausages all the way through because they come pre-cooked. You just want to cook them enough to get the "legs" to curl and to give some color. Love those crisp, slightly charred bits.

Eat with rice ^_^

Six cooked Octopus Hot Dogs in a cast iron pan.
Ready to eat!

FAQs and Tips

4 or 8 octopus legs?

We usually make four octopus legs, but you can get even more detailed and make two additional cuts to create eight octopus legs.

The more legs you make, the less high up the sausage you want to cut (otherwise the legs get all unwieldy ^_^)

Octopus eyes?

Use roasted black sesame seeds to add eyes to the octopus.

You don't need to add anything to make the sesame seeds stick to the sausage. The oil on the exterior of the sausage automatically makes them stick. Super cute!

Want to deep fry?

This dish is even MORE delicious if you deep fry (instead of pan fry). The legs get wildly crisp and curl up even more!

If you happen to be making other deep fried dishes (like Mochiko Chicken or Gau Gee), throw in a few of these Octopus Hot Dogs and enjoy!!

How to serve Octopus Hot Dogs?

I always eat this with rice. These are also great for school lunch / work lunch because they pack nicely and reheat well.

Popular side dishes to pair include:
- Hijiki Salad
- Simmered Daikon
- Tuna Tofu Patties
- Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles)
- Garlic and Ginger Green Beans

Go pro.

Once you make this dish a few times, you'll get a better sense of how many "legs" you prefer to cut and how high up the sausage/hot dog you want to go.

Some people like shorter "legs" and others love crazy long "legs" for more texture contrast. There's no right or wrong way, so just make sure to have fun.

Octopus Hot Dogs Recipe

See below and enjoy ^_^

Six cooked Octopus Hot Dogs in a cast iron pan.

Octopus Hot Dogs

Yield: 6 Octopus Hot Dogs
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Octopus Hot Dogs are a fun and easy to make treat. You only need one ingredient: Japanese sausages (or regular hot dogs)! Make a few cuts to form the octopus "legs" and then pan fry till the legs curl up! Best enjoyed with rice.

Ingredients

  • 6 Japanese sausages (or 3 regular hot dogs, cut in half)
  • Black sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions

  1. Lay the sausage/hot dog flat on a cutting board. Cut it in half - go all the way through but don't cut the top 30% of the sausage.
  2. Turn it over 90 degrees and make another cut. Now you have four octopus legs.
  3. Pan fry over medium high heat (no need to add oil) until the sausages/hot dogs legs curl up and get nice and browned.
  4. Eat with rice!

Notes

We usually make four octopus legs, but you can get even more detailed and make two more cuts to create eight octopus legs. The more legs you make, the less high up the sausage you want to cut (otherwise the legs get all unwieldy ^_^)

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Mahalo for Reading!

Brent

Friday 26th of February 2021

If you wanted to make it a full on recipe, you could make a quick sauce of soy, sugar and mirin (or something similar) to coat. Either way, very fun and good. Made them along with musubi, kimchi and takuan for a small bento eaten on a quick stop on the way to camping last year.

Kathy

Friday 26th of February 2021

Hi Brent! Oooh yes, basically octopus hot dogs crossed with the shoyu hot dogs (https://onolicioushawaii.com/shoyu-hot-dogs/) lolol. So good! That sounds like THE perfect bento snack ^_^ - Kathy

kat

Thursday 25th of February 2021

in japan it is often called tako weiner:)

Kathy

Thursday 25th of February 2021

Hi Kat! Ahh super neat! I haven't heard that name before, will add it to the list ^_^ - Kathy