Enjoy a tarantula burger in Durham, North Carolina

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/04/30/enjoy-a-tarantula-burger-in-du.html


I’d hoped to learn something about the actual flavor beyond it being merely “crunchy”. Perhaps it does not taste like much at all.

I’m also curious as to whether there is a particular standardized procedure to ensuring the removal of all the urticating hairs. Do they all get burned off in the cooking process, or is it somehow peeled? They don’t sound like the sort of thing you’d want to inadvertently digest.

From the Wikipedia article:

“The taste has been described as bland, “rather like a cross between chicken and cod”, with a contrast in texture from a crispy exterior to a soft centre. The legs contain little flesh, while the head and body have “a delicate white meat inside”. There are certainly those who might not enjoy the abdomen, however, as it contains a brown paste consisting of organs, possibly eggs, and excrement. Some call it a delicacy while others recommend not eating it.”


I’d rather not. Though I would consider insect “flour” used in something.


Scared of spiders, so no, but have eaten other bugs and liked them. You have to go to a place where they know what they are doing and if it can be deep fried it’s better.


A really great day in Durham starts with a stroll through a Duke Gardens. After that have a tarantula burger and then drive your truck into a low clearance train bridge. Good times.


At a brewery I worked at for a bit last year, we released a Gose that used a cricket-based malt in the grain. Surprisingly good.

Well, yet another reason to never go to North Carolina. I can’t use the bathrooms and now they put spiders on their burgers. NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE.


If tarantula tastes anything like crab (aka “underwater spiders”) I want nothing to do with it. Yuck! How do people eat those things?

But if it tastes like lobster, well then please pass the melted butter.

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Apparently the arachnid adds a pleasant crunch to the burger.

I have always found that adding potato chips to burgers or sandwiches is more than adequate in that department, so nope.


I’ll stick with adding coleslaw and potato chips to my burgers.


My girlfriend adds coleslaw to her pizza. i think i’d rather eat spiders.


In SF at the Randall Museum they have a Bug Day. Lots of exhibits and things, snacks of various crickets (whole, toasted or fried?) and mealworms and such. Surprisingly good. My participation in this was 10-15 years ago so I imagine insect flour bakery is the norm now. Back in high school we had a cool biology teacher named Mrs King (I see what you did there!) who had us bring in exotic ingredients like insects, earthworms, crickets etc (note not just scooped up off the pavement or wherever) so I was already somewhat used to the idea.

This brings to mind a nature show we once watched where kids in some tropical area (s america?) hunted enormous spiders and ate them. The spiders are covered in stinging spines so they have to be cooked in a fire like a crab. The rainforest was surprisingly low in nutrients so the kids were always hungry. One kid was so hungry he pulled his spider out of the fire too early and had a mouth full of stinging nettles basically. yuk

Now crabs like Dungeness caught from a clean watershed right off your kayak and roasted in a fire on the beach w a couple brews? This is fine. A spider on my burger? nope.

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Don’t forget driving down Cornwallis Road to Hillsboro Road, taking a left on Old Cornwallis Road to Hillsboro Street, to…

We’ve been enjoying them in Maryland since forever.


Normally in the U.S. people keep spiders as a pets, but overseas, they are hunted and eaten.

Announcer: “Next up on Little-Game Hunter, Overseas Edition we take you to the Tarantula Fields just east of London, England where the twice-yearly ‘Thinning of the Herds’ event is about to take place. William Thumbercott, a local little-game hunter, gives us some background about this celebrated event.”

William T: “You should understand, each female tarantula in the wild can lay from 100 to 200 eggs at a time. If we didn’t do this to keep the population under control, before you know it all of London would be swarming with hungry tarantulas. It’s for the good of everyone, really. Not to mention we have a lot of burgers to top.”

Announcer: “And they’re off! Look at them skitter! It’s majestic, really! The hunters toss their nets, and huge swathes of tarantulas are caught up, hauled in, and placed in the buttering bags. The ones that escape quickly find hiding spots from which to plot their eight-legged revenge. Luckily they are more afraid of us than we are of them, right William?”

William T: “Sure…”

If ever I need a reason to not eat something, there it is.


As article titles go, “A tarantula burger in Durham, North Carolina” might have worked just as well.

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To be fair, Durham is one of NC’s more progressive cities, and was one of the most outspoken populations against the infamous “Bathroom Bill” HB-2. It’s a nice place with lots of great people. That said, they do put tarantulas on their hamburgers, so YMMV.

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