Simple Vegan BBG Jackfruit Pulled Pork Sandwiches + Jackfruit Explainer
Hi there (waves hand).
Doesn’t this pulled pork sandwich look delicious?
Except there is no pork involved, of course. There is only jackfruit, that 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?
So, let me tell you a bit more about our friend, Jack.
Jackfruit, grown in India, a huge fruit (often around 40 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.
I don’t really understand why we call this pulled “pork” when there is no cute little fat pink piggie involved, only a mottled green lump of a giant fruit.
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.
I broke it down myself to use in the sweet smoothie recipes I posted.
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?
As I said, I took my pods I gathered here and used them in sweet smoothies, here and here.
But things felt unfinished.
My jackfruit-inspiration engine was still running. I wanted to try a savory recipe.
But alas I did not have a young (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. 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.
So, it was shortcut time – my favorite time of year!
I trotted off to Trader Joe’s to get canned green jackfruit (in brine or water, but NOT syrup) 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, Trader Joe’s 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.
See if you like it, I know vegan and non-vegan friends alike will be thrilled!
If you make my method, come over to Instagram and tag me with it so I can see!
Simple Skillet BBG Jackfruit Pulled Pork Sandwiches + Jackfruit Explainer
- Open the cans of jackfruit 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.
- 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 sauted 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!