Every day, I probably enter a half-dozen assorted contests online. A weeklong trip to Edinburgh? Sign me up. A thousand bucks to spend on camping gear? Sure, I like freeze-dried foods. A giveaway for a metallic Supreme x The North Face jacket I wouldn’t even want to be buried in? Here’s my email address. Despite the sheer volume of contests and lotteries I enter, I have yet to win any of them. I’m convinced that I’ll never win any of them—except the one thing I legitimately DO NOT WANT.
Bull City Burger Brewery is serving a burger topped with an entire fucking zebra tarantula, a limited-time, limited-tarantula offering that is part of its sixth annual Exotic Meat Month. Because it only has a few fucking tarantulas to fry and serve, anyone who wants to take its Spider Challenge has to stop by the Durham, NC restaurant and sign up for a lottery. Winners are drawn from the list of willing participants, their names are posted online and they have 48 hours to contact the restaurant to confirm their disgusting, crunchy dinner date.
As I wrote this, my Durham-resident friend Tom was on his way to Bull City Burger to add my name to the spider lottery and, instead of flying to Scotland or wrapping myself in what looks like Supreme-branded aluminium foil, I’ll probably end up eating a fucking tarantula. But, also as I wrote this, an 11-year-old girl was chewing half an arachnid, because she was Friday’s lottery winner and she’s far more fearless than I am.
“I like to be an exotic person and I really like animals, so I just thought it would be really cool,” Jada Chasteen told MUNCHIES. “My arachnophobic friends think I’m terrifying.” (Chasteen left school to eat this thing, and said that she “couldn’t stop smiling” about the very prospect).
According to WRAL, the $30 burger is 100-percent North Carolina pasture-raised beef, topped with Gruyère cheese, a spicy chile sauce, and a fucking oven-roasted tarantula. It also comes with fries and a T-shirt emblazoned with a Rolling Stones-ish tongue that has one of those creatures on it. The restaurant describes the tarantula as “lightly salted and oven baked.” WRAL’s Kathy Hanrahan dipped it in ketchup, visibly recoiled after her first bite, and described its flavour as “bitter.” (“Oh my God!” the woman at the table beside her said. “I’m so worried about you!”)
“I thought it tasted very nice,” Chasteen said. “The legs were crunchy, like shrimp tails, but the abdomen felt like it had little beads in it. The head, where the eyes are, that tasted a little more like crab.”
Despite one middle schooler’s enthusiasm, others have been less charitable; Britain’s Telegraph has called the experience of eating the a tarantula’s abdomen “disturbing,” noting that “it’s full of a dark brown paste that includes everything from eggs to the heart and spider excrement.”
So far, the other items on the Exotic Meat Month menu have included alligator tube steaks, camel burgers, python curry, and other assorted insects. The Spider Challenge lasts until Bull City runs out of tarantulas which, hopefully, is the day before my name is drawn in that lottery.