How to Prepare and Cook a Jungle Tarantula?

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One of the most intriguing and freakishly scary foods I've tried over the years would be a grilled tarantula during a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula. Feasting on the largest spiders I've ever seen was quite the adventure, but aside from the fact I'm slightly arachnophobic, they really weren't that bad. If given the chance and the opportunity to catch a spider larger than my head, I would certainly grill them up again.

Things You'll Need

  • Tarantula
  • Medium open-flame fire.
  • Banana leaves (or other large leaf capable of retaining heat)
  • Knife
  • Wooden skewer or stick
  • Obtain the spider and remove the front mandibles and fangs.

  • Place a skewer lengthwise through the spider. Start at the thorax and extend through the body and exiting at the head area.

  • Begin scraping off any excessive tarantula hair, then toss them directly on the fire. Cook for approximately 5 minutes on direct flame.

  • Remove from the direct flame, wrap several banana leaves around the charred tarantula and place on indirect flame for 5 additional minutes. This will steam the inside of the tarantula, because this is a wild creature capable of carrying numerous parasites.

  • Pull the banana leaf wrap from the fire, open carefully and you have a freshly cooked tarantula. Eat the tarantula as you would a lobster or crab by cracking various segments of the exoskeleton (i.e., shell). According to my tour guide, it was a tradition for a first-time consumer of tarantula to use the fangs as toothpicks.

Tips & Warnings

  • Abandon your fear of strange things and jump in and enjoy the experience.
  • Make sure to laugh at yourself when others poke fun at the strange look on your face after the first bite.
  • A little salt and Tabasco sauce makes the meal rather enjoyable.
  • The exoskeleton is edible, but has a burnt corn chips taste. I preferred to skip this part of the meal.
  • The fangs on tarantulas can be 1/2 inch to 1 inch in length, so be careful if you are killing or cleaning them without supervision.
  • A bite isn't generally fatal, but is very painful, so use extreme caution if catching or cleaning your meal.

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