This easy jackfruit BBQ sandwich looks and tastes like pulled pork sandwich but is actually a delicious and nutritious plant-based sandwich made of BBQ pulled “pork” – not from meat, but from jackfruit, a huge dinosaur-egg-like fruit that is powerfully nutritious.
Easy Jackfruit BBQ Sandwiches
This is an easy vegan jackfruit bbq sandwich even though it looks like a pulled pork sandwich.
Doesn’t it look delicious?
Let’s discuss this pulled pork sandwich. Except there is no pork involved, of course. There is only jackfruit, a weird Jurassic park-like fruit that actually can emulate pork in savory dishes.
And nutrition-wise, the fruit is rich in a slew of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, healthy fat and protein yet no cholesterol or saturated fats. What pulled pork recipe do you know of that can beat that?
All About Jackfruit
So, let me tell you a bit more about our friend, Jack.
Jackfruit, grown in India, a huge fruit (often around 80 pounds) that hangs off an evergreen tree, has two personalities. (Don’t confuse it with similar looking fruits Soursop and Durian)
When young and a strong sturdy green, jackfruit is perfect in savory recipes like this one. When yellowish and mottled, it is ripe and perfect for sweet recipes such as smoothies such as this one on my blog.
Today, however, we are tackling a savory jackfruit recipe. A very popular one in fact.
A pulled “pork” sandwich.
I bought my first “little” jackfruit at Whole Foods, and feel in love immediately because I saw this dinosaur egg’s potential.
However, when I bought mine, it was fairly ripe, thus sweet, thus only useful for sweet recipes or smoothies.
How to Break Down A Fresh Jackfruit
So the first time I broke down a jackfruit, it was for a sweet smoothie recipe. Breaking down a jackfruit that is ripe (good for sweet recipes) or green (good for savory recipes) is the same.
Let me warn you, it’s not that easy to break a jackfruit down, and fairly messy.
Basically you cut it in half like you would a melon. Then you scoop out the yellow pods that dot the insides. Then, within each pod, you scoop out a seed.
It’s like a little treasure hunt.
The pods without seeds are meant for use in sweet recipes, but the flesh and stringy fibers around the pods are meant for savory recipes, easy-peasy! I’m told the seeds too can be cooked and eaten but I don’t know how yet or for what recipe. Perhaps a dear reader can enlighten me in comments?
How to Use Jackfruit in Sweet Recipes
As I said, I took my pods I gathered here and used them in sweet smoothies, including in this lemon smoothie jackfruit recipe here.
But things felt unfinished.
How to Use Jackfruit in Savory Recipes
My jackfruit-inspiration engine was still running. I wanted to try a savory recipe.
But alas I did not have a young and green (as in not ripe) jackfruit (remember the rules? Not ripe (green) for savory recipes; Ripe (mottled yellow) for sweet recipes).
Of course I could head out to my local Asian market to buy another – they typically have giant crates of them just inside the doorway – and look this time for a less ripe one.
But jackfruit can be fairly expensive and, I had just learned, hard to chop up, especially to find and identify the areas best for savory recipes.
Shortcut To Cooking With Jackfruit
So, it was shortcut time – my favorite time of year! My best shortcut is try canned jackfruit for savory recipes. It’s green, it’s not sweet, and there are several brands to trust. My favorite is Trader Joe’s brand, there are also a few others.
Just be sure you are buying jackfruit in brine or water, but NOT syrup.
Canned jackfruit is perfect to make this savory recipe.
I was determined to keep the number of ingredients and steps limited and simple, so I only bought garlic, onion, veggie broth, vegan barbecue sauce and 2 cans of green jackfruit in brine.
Green jackfruit from a can looks different than fresh. They are whitish triangles that you cut into slices to help achieve the shredding you see in real pulled pork.
Now, I know tons of people before me have made this recipe so I searched around to see what the going method was for this popular dish.
In the end, I found that there actual are lots of different ways to make it, so I pulled together an amalgamation of my favorite steps – including skilleting, marinating and baking – and came up with my own method which you can find in the detailed recipe below.
See if you like it. We have served this sandwich at many a neighborhood brunch and find vegan and non-vegan friends alike are thrilled with this sandwich!
If you make my method, come over to Instagram and tag me with it so I can see!
Interested in sharing on pinterest? Use this image…
or this one..
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Jackfruit BBQ Pulled Pork
- If you use cans, open them and rinse off the brine or water. You'll see the pieces are shaped in triangles. Take a small sharp knife and cut them in slices vertically. You should see the pieces appear to shred as you slice.
- If you use The Jackfruit Company products, prep them according to the package instructions.
Cook the Jackfruit "pulled pork"
- Heat olive oil in a skillet and saute until brown the chopped onion and garlic.
- Add in the jackfruit and broth, and saute for about 8 minutes. You want the chopped jackfruit to soften so you can shred it further. I started using 2 forks to try to tear is apart into shreds in the saute pan after about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the sauteed and shredded jackfruit into a bowl and pour on 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce. Toss it thoroughly and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- After the hour, toss with the remaining half cup of barbecue sauce and spread on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes - you want the ends of the shredded pieces to dry and crisp up - this best emulates true pulled pork.
- Serve immediately on buns with greens and tomatoes and maybe more sauce. Enjoy!
How to Store
- Store in refrigerator for 4 days, or freeze it for about 2 months.
Dee Dine is founder of Green Smoothie Gourmet, a plant based recipe blog, and author of the recent cookbook, Crazy Healthy with 4 Ingredients . On this blog you’ll find incredibly easy recipes with hidden veggies for anyone wanting to eat healthier, regardless of diet. Dee has graduate degrees in biology, immunology and journalism. More about Dee Dine here.