BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich

BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich

Over the long Memorial Day weekend, I decided to give BBQ pulled pork style jackfruit a whirl. I’ve been reading about it lately and it sounds so weird yet undeniably interesting at the same time.

BBQ is something I haven’t had in a long, long time. Grilling is quick, high heat over the grill. BBQ is low and slow – veggies don’t usually need to be cooked this way. So I was looking forward to enjoying a little BBQ.

The smell was incredible and the color is a nice tantalizing brown. But when I had a taste bite, I did not care for it at all. It tasted like how it looked when it first came out of the can, kinda of a vinegar taste. Or maybe it was the BBQ sauce I was using. Or maybe it was because I used my rice cooker on the slow cook setting. Needless to say, I was very disappointed and set it aside.

At the end of the day when I was debating what to do with it, I gave it one more try and nibbled a tiny bit. What!!? It tasted great! I guess the BBQ sauce and/or jackfruit just needed more time for the flavor to develop. So happy now.

BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich

Jackfruit is a giant, prickly oval fruit grown in India, Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America. It’s the largest tree borne fruit in the world. Ripe jackfruit is sweet and eaten as a dessert. The canned young green jackfruit in brine is unripe. It’s prepared as a vegetable and is also known as “vegetable meat”. Both versions can be found at the Asian grocery store.

BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich
Serves 2

1 20 ounce can young green jackfruit in brine
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt
1/2 cup + extra BBQ sauce, bottled or homemade
Hamburger buns

Drain and wash the jackfruit in several changes of water. After washing, squeeze out as much water as you can.

In a pan, heat the oil and sauté the garlic. Add the jackfruit and salt to taste, and cook for a 3-4 minutes over medium heat.

Transfer the jackfruit to a slow cooker, add the BBQ sauce and mix well. Set the cooker for 1 hour, occasionally stirring and adding more sauce or water as needed. The jackfruit should be fork tender and come apart easily.

Take the jackfruit out of the cooker and shred with a fork. Let the jackfruit sit for several hours or overnight to further develop the flavor or if it taste good to you right out of the pot, dig in. Serve on toasted buns with your choice of more BBQ sauce, mayo, coleslaw or pickles.

Comments

  1. says

    I have never heard of jackfruit, let alone BBQ’d jackfruit. But I have to admit that “young green jackfuit in brine” really doesn’t sound very appealing. In brine? Sounds so pirate-y. Ha ha. Too bad there is no Asian market in my town for all my jackfruit needs because your pic looks amazing.

  2. says

    How interesting. I’ve never heard of jackfruit. Nor did I ever think of BBQ fruit! It looks amazing though, seriously, I want to eat the picture.

  3. chow says

    Thanks everybody for your comments! :-)

    I’ve never heard of jackfruit before either. I have no idea who thought of the original idea to BBQ jackfruit. Sure is tasty though.

    I had read about Pure Luck Restaurant in Los Angeles. They serve a BBQ jackfruit sandwich to rave reviews. It’s also on some of the vegan boards.

  4. chow says

    Thanks Lisa! I haven’t heard of Match faux pork before. Sounds interesting, I’ll have to look into it sometime.

  5. says

    This looks amazing!
    The trick I learned with this stuff is to let it marinate for 8 hours. That way the flavor is prime!

    Make it hottttttt!

    : )

    /F/T/

  6. chow says

    Thanks FOODTRANCE! At least the flavors eventually came together in the end. :-) Next time, I will probably try to either marinate or cook it longer.

  7. says

    Oh, this is something we don’t have here. Getting fresh jackfruit is getting tougher. I had tasted a young jackfruit curry dish, should be a Sri Lanka dish, it is awesome but i can’t find it anymore.

    When young, there was a jackfruit tree at my granny place, we would BBQ the seed of the jackfruit after eating the jackfruit. It is lovely.

    :)

  8. chow says

    Crystal – Interesting you can’t find it anymore over there. That’s a bummer.

    Wow, BBQ jackfruit seeds. Maybe that’s where the idea for BBQ came from? :-)

  9. says

    This sounds AMAZING! I never had pulled pork, and truth is, even the ripe jackfruit is still meaty and ind of dry, so cooked is the answer I guess. I am SO going to try this. Have you ever tried it with fresh Jackfruit?

  10. chow says

    I’ve never had fresh jackfruit. I haven’t seen it anywhere around here.

    I think ripe jackfruit is sweet, you’ll want the unripe green jackfruit to make the pulled jackfruit.

  11. liz says

    this looks great!

    Ripe jackfruit is very sweet. It’s hard to find in the US, though I know it grows in south Florida, where the weather is warm enough.

    Like Crystal, I have had jackfruit seeds before. They make it in curry in south India. yum.

    Thanks for the recipe

  12. says

    Oh geez… I thought I picked up some fresh jackfruit off the shelf on Monday and would have tried this dish, except that I don’t remember taking it home with me. When I asked my husband a moment ago, he told me he put it back without me noticing. *roll eyes*

  13. says

    A restaurant in my city makes this BBQ jackfruit sandwich (though I haven’t been there yet), jicama tacos and garbanzo bean sandwiches too! I’m salivating just now haha

  14. Jamie says

    I just made this and OMG was it good. I fried the jack fruit a little longer to give it a “meat” type look to fool my kids into thinking it was chicken. (Has the texture of chicken).

    I added a whole chopped onion and 1/4 cup brown sugar too.

    YUMMY. We did not notice a vinigar type taste to ours so it may be the type of jackfruit? Ours crockpotted about 6 hours.

  15. chow says

    Thanks for sharing your experience with the recipe, glad it came out great for you! I think the long cooking time helps a lot – 6 hours vs 1 hour. Or short cooking time but let it sit around for a few hours. The jackfruit just needs time. :-)

  16. Sad Panda says

    I want this so bad. I went all the way across town to the Asian grocery today. There was Jackfruit in syrup on the shelf but I didn’t see young green jackfruit but alot of the labels are Chinese only so I went to the counter to ask.

    They had no idea what the hell I was talking about. “Whole fresh jackfruit?” “No. Young Green Jackfruit in a can. No syrup.” “Can you explain it more?” “Young Green Jackfruit! That’s what it says on the can. No syrup.” he stared at me completely confused while I repeated this a few more times. “Uhh… let me ask the boss.” Comes back a minute later. “No.”

  17. chow says

    That’s a bummer, no wonder you’re Sad Panda. :-) Hope you can find it somewhere else or maybe online?

  18. Jackfruit Johnny says

    Jackfruit is awesome, my favorite tree and one of my favorite fruits. I am looking for interesting ideas or recipies for fresh ripe jackfruit. I have one and a half in my fridge now from my friends house down the road. Any ideas?

  19. says

    OK…I tried this based on your recipe,..As soon as I finished with the hour slow cook, I gave it a taste. Not so sure. I could still detect that vinegary brine. Kinda disappointed,…I justvthrew it in the fridge. Maybe tomorrow I’ll re-heat and try it again.

  20. says

    Took out of the fridge,…heated it up and threw it on a bun and…….lo and behold,…it was fantastic!

    Next time I will get the cans packed in water and NOT brine. This will probably make it more palatable sooner,….but again,..it tasted great!

  21. chow says

    Todd – That was exactly my expereince too the first time I tried cooking with jackfruit. So glad it came out for you! :-)

  22. says

    If I had any complaint (really not a complaint) it came from my wife,…she said it seemed just a bit too mushy for her. (no taste complaint from her)Yours looked more firm. Did I cook too long in the pan,…or do you think too long in the slow cooker?

    I wonder if I threw it in the oven to bake afterward,…if that would firm it up and dry it out some to be more stringy and palatable for her?

  23. chow says

    Todd – The jackfruit does come out a bit on the soft side. I think it might just be the nature of the jackfruit.

    So far I liked it best rolled up in a taquito which I then bake. The crunchy shell counteracts the softness of the jackfruit. But if you ever try baking it afterwards, I would love to hear the results.

  24. Rachel says

    I tried this tonight!

    As I was taking the jackfruit out of the can, I noticed the seed like things that were in it (the oval but still soft pod like things) that came out when I squeezed the water out of it. I tried picking it out but a few of them were in the crock pot, and their texture really threw me off

    I just made half a sandwich of it and I’m still not so sure, I’ll have my boyfriend try when he gets home.

    Maybe we need to let it marinate overnight as well

    Have you tried any other variations yet?

  25. Rachel says

    Oh! Also, I feel like jackfruit is structured similarly to a pineapple, and I tried to pull it away from the center rind part as much as possible.

    Did you have this problem?

  26. chow says

    Rachel – The seeds threw me off too at first but then I figured that all of it was edible. I didn’t try pulling it away from the center rind. I just shredded it after it was done cooking.

    Definitely let it sit overnight for the best flavor, it makes a huge difference. I tried it with taco seasonings and chinese 5-spice, they’re both good. I still like the taquitos best.

  27. says

    I can’t believe how easy and delicious this was. Letting it sit overnight is truly the key to a good dish. Making your own sauce will really do this dish justice. A good fresh baked roll wouldn’t hurt either.

  28. says

    I am trying to get my husband onto a vegan diet. he loves his meat and recently requested that I make some pulled pork sandwiches. I am going to have to make this to see what he thinks.
    We can get fresh Jackfruit where we live so I am hoping I can find it in a can as well.

    When cooking in the slow cooker, do you put the temp on high or low for the 1 hour?

  29. tara says

    this was SO good! i’m a huge Pure Luck fan and have been wanting to explore jackfruit ever since. i found some at Seafood City (Filipino grocery).

    i used this recipe mostly as a base. i cut up garlic, sauteed in a big pasta pot with oil, salt and pepper. added jackfruit. let cook for a few minutes, then added BBQ sauce and water. i just put the lid on and let it simmer for about two hours since I don’t have a slow cooker.

    leaving it in the fridge overnight DEFINITELY makes a difference. also, right after i pulled all the “pork”, i added about a tablespoon of butter to a double batch. i’m not vegan obviously… but i’m sure you could add some earth balance! it gives the BBQ an extra delicious creamy richness.

  30. artistsway says

    Wow wee! That picture looks so tasty. I ran out to the grocer to find this jackfruit and try it out as a chicken substitute in Chicken and Herb Doubling receipe. The problem? I didn’t find it in Brine like some of the other posters, so I thought I’d take a chance with the frozen. Not so good of an idea. While it wasn’t “bad” the sweetness was really hard to tone down, but I’ll definitely try again. I recommend the Samosa House in Los Angeles. They use jackfruit in a curry dish and it is FABULOUS!

  31. boheme says

    Make sure you get the GREEN jackfruit, as the sweet, ripe jackfruit canned in syrup will not work. We make it the day before, refrigerate it overnight, and serve with cole slaw the next day. (I put my slaw right on top of the bbq ‘meat’ on my sandwich.)
    Jackfruit is usually at Asian markets, but we get ours at a whole foods type grocery store. It’s $1.18 for a can of 20 oz.
    I also like this person’s jackfruit recipe
    http://www.neivedyam.com/2007/05/kathal-subzi-jackfruit-fry.html

  32. says

    Just made some “pulled pork” with fresh jackfruit in my home in Mexico (expat abroad!) It has terribly messy to cut and requires a lot of oil for cleanup (think knives, cutting board, hands, etc). It is like cutting into a fruit covered in tree sap–fun stuff! Try to get the freshest jackfruit possible, as they ripen after they are cut, I believe. Mine was already ripe enough to eat as a fruit, and still cooked up great. But it certainly looks different from the canned stuff, and would probably cook up better if a little less ripe. Half of a huge jackfruit (the size of 2 heads) was enough for dinner for 3 or 4 people, plus 8 future dinners for the same (I froze A LOT). Good thing, too…because it would not be worth cutting into that sticky mess unless it produced a LOT!! :)

  33. lloyd brett says

    Just had curried jackfruit taste meaty like curried goat meat but much more refined without the bones

  34. Jamie says

    Now I want to make this! I’ve ate at pure luck many times and I love everything there always wondered what jackfruit was and how they made it. Thank you!

  35. Sue says

    DELICIOUS! Thank you so much for this. I love barbecue, but am trying to eat far less meat these days. This was better than barbecue chicken/pork in my opion. I looked the texture and the taste was good for us right out of the crockpot. We doubled the recipe, so we’ll see if the leftovers are noticeably better today!

  36. micah says

    I have had this recipe in my favorites for three years now and I still haven’t been able to find a jackfruit in my area, lol. Someday I will try it though, can’t wait!

  37. Fernando says

    In the beach house my wife rent here in Brazil there are so many jackfruit trees that i ended up here when looking for a recipe. In two weeks we will be there, and i will give it a try with both ripe and unripe fresh jackfruit… Keep you posted. :o)

  38. Mandi says

    We just had these sandwiches for dinner and they were delicious! I was lucky to have a great Asian market where I live and found the jackfruit canned in just water and salt, so it didn’t have that brine-y taste/smell some people experienced. I also mixed a little sriracha into my BBQ sauce for extra kick. I put it in the crockpot in the morning for 4 hours on low, then let it sit for another 6 hours or so. When I was ready to eat, I put it back in a skillet with a little oil to heat it and crisp up the texture. Served it on toasted rolls (with a little garlic rubbed on them because that never hurts) and some kosher dills. I wish there was more for tomorrow!

  39. chow says

    Mandi – You are lucky, wish I could find jackfruit without the brine part. Great idea to add srirachia and heating in a skillet – it all sounds extra yummy! Thanks for sharing! :-)

  40. Manfred says

    I live in Thailand and have a jackfruit tree in my yard, I so tried this recipe. It turned out quite good, especially the second day. One thing I did not know before: When peeling a fresh, green fruit, a lot of latex oozes out. That created a big mess on my knife, hands and cutting board, that was very hard to clean. I have since been told by a Thai, that all surfaces should be coated with oil before cutting. I will try that the next time.

  41. redjewel says

    I’ve tried it as “fishcakes”. A little tweaking and they are quite good.I will have to try it as a pulled dish.Thamx for posting the recipe.
    VeganDad…do you have a Food Basics where you are. I found it there in the Timmins store. It is located in the center with all the ethnic foods.

  42. ThoughtSausage says

    Tried this yesterday/today. Rinsed vigorously several times. Cooked on stove for about 5 minutes or so with onion, garlic, and som shriacha. Put in the the crockpot for about 3 hours or so. Left in fridge over night to this evening. Cooked again on the stove top. I used Sweet Baby Rays sauce. My wife was able to eat a sandwich, but i couldnt do it. there was just something off for me. Between the texture (the rind part didnt cook very well) and the hint of brine in the background, it just didnt work for us. Might try again if I could find it in water, not brine, and by trimming the rind off.

  43. LM says

    We made this tonight, it was amazing we used a lot of hickory flavoured BBQ sauce about half a bottle and fresh ciabatta buns. We found that 2 x 20 oz cans just made enough pulled pork for us. We bought jackfruit in brine in Chinatown in Toronto for abou t$2 a can. All in probably cost about $7. Been a vegetarian for 2 years, and this is as good as I remember real BBQ Pulled Pork being.

  44. Scott says

    I made this last night using jackfruit in water; a 20 oz. can was less than $2.00 at the local Asian Market. It turned out great!

  45. Tina says

    We have a restaurant in K.C., Mo called FUD and we have eaten BBQ Jackfruit there. We absolutely love it! Want to try this receipe.

  46. Stephanie says

    Thank you!! I had vegan pulled pork at Earthfare on their hot bar and have been trying to figure out how they did it ever since. I found canned jackfruit at my local asian market and I am super excited to try this!

  47. m.e. says

    It’s crazy that this post is five years old and people are still commenting on it! I just tried a jackfruit taco at one of my fave restaurants here in Philly! It was so delicious, and I had so many questions, “What the hell is a jackfruit?” “How do I get more of it!” Thanks for the recipe. I am totally trying this!

  48. chow says

    KM – Sorry, I don’t have a pressure cooker so I’m not sure how it’s different from a crockpot.

  49. Jerry says

    Canned green jackfruit in brine is available on Amazon.com, so even those of us stuck in the most rural of zip codes can enjoy rhis treat

  50. Valerie says

    Thanks for this recipe. I am planning to have a full vegan southern dinner here in the Fall and thought a “pulled pork” BBQ would fit in nicely. Jackfruit is used extensively in SE Asia as a vegetarian substitute for different recipes.

  51. Raaj says

    The main problem here is “CANNED” – anything that comes from a can is mixed with known (and hidden) preservatives that messes up texture, taste and smell. Use fresh jackfruit and it tastes AWESOME. I often eat burritos, burgers and other things made off bbw jackfruit here in Ft Collins, CO (thanks Taste of harmony) and LOVE it every single time. I don’t personally care for whether it looks like pulled port or not because I don’t want my vegan food to even look like any meat. In essence, this is a great vegetable/fruit to make great recipes from. I wish it has a bit less of sugar but you can always burn it off by running a couple extra miles :)

  52. Valerie says

    Warning!! I had an unpleasant surprise attempting to deal with a fresh one… GUMMY!! could not get my knife or plate or cutting board clean. wikipedia suggests oiling hands and knives first before cutting. Not sure I like that idea either. I will admit, raw, it was good.

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  1. […] tried it yet, since I’m still on the jackfruit hunt, but a quick Google search revealed this BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich recipe, which kind of looks amazing.  Click on over also just for the chance to see what jackfruit […]

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