When talking about what one would do with a tarantula, responses tend to range from "put it on my hand and freak everyone out" to "KILL IT WITH FIRE." However, I doubt anyone that would consider taking this hairy arachnid, roasting it, and creating a tarantula burger challenge out of it. Until now, that is.
Bull City Burger in Durham, North Carolina has created the $30 Tarantula Burger challenge as part of their Exotic Meat Month.
According to their website, only a select number of tarantula are cooked, and customers who want to try the spider-topped burger can sign up for a "Tarantula raffle" for their shot to eat it. Raffle winners are then posted on social media and have 48 hours to contact the restaurant to secure their challenge.
At least without the tarantula, the burger sounds pretty tasty. It consists of pasture-raised North Carolina beef, gruyere cheese, and spicy chili sauce, accompanied with "Dirty Fries." It's only when you add the whole oven-baked tarantula on top that things get a bit weird for some. Those who do get through the entire thing will get their picture taken and received a limited-edition Tarantula Challenge t-shirt as a reward.
While this may be a gruesome and disturbing way to try insects, the consumption of bugs is gaining more awareness overall in the United States. This has resulted from the search for protein alternatives to meat, which is becoming increasingly unsustainable to consume. You have cricket flour producers that make chocolate chip cookies, along with other baked goods. There's even chocolate-covered mealworms and other tasty critters out there.
However, most of those are served in forms that mask the flavor and/or appearance, which is definitely not the case with this tarantula burger challenge. It's a brash step forward for bugs in the U.S., but if people are willing to eat it, it may make eating insects a more viable option in this country.