When I first became vegan, I was not fond of jackfruit. Similar to tofu, at the time, it seemed slimy and disgusting. Of course, it had nothing to do with the jackfruit or the tofu; it was me. I didn't know how to cook jackfruit or tofu, for that matter. But, as time progressed and I learned, I am now obsessed with both. And with all obsessions comes insanely good food like this BBQ jackfruit recipe.
WHAT IS JACKFRUIT EXACTLY?
Though commonly found in a can, Jackfruit is a high protein, high antioxidant fruit. Its bland flavor is the perfect texture and blank slate to absorb any marinade or spices. As a result, the jackfruit's neutral flavor allows me to transform it into shredded meat with various flavors.
Jackfruit has the texture of chicken! I didn't say it tastes like chicken because obviously, I don't like chicken. But I love barbeque!
Making pulled BBQ jackfruit, however, satisfies my love for barbequed foods! So, if you meal prep, take BBQ jackfruit to work for the week as a sandwich, in a bowl, wrap, or on top of a salad. Anyway, you like it; BBQ jackfruit is the bomb!
TRANSFORMING JACKFRUIT INTO PULLED BBQ JACKFRUIT
When drained and removed from a can, Jackfruit looks like triangles of chicken. It is tasteless if you taste it, as it comes from the can. Jackfruit's bland flavor makes it the perfect sponge for absorbing flavors.
For me, the fun is transforming a can of jackfruit into incredible BBQ jackfruit that would fool any meat-eater. But, first, it is important to buy the jackfruit in water or brine.
However, one of the biggest mistakes people make is buying jackfruit in syrup. Unfortunately, I have made this mistake, and I ended up throwing my whole meal away. And I hate wasting food. So, avoid that pitfall and buy jackfruit in water or brine.
Then, rinse the jackfruit, put it in your food processor, and pulse until shredded.
Although many recipes suggest using the jackfruit as is, I beg to differ. Instead, I like to cook it first. Like my Vegan Buffalo Chicken Dip, cooking the jackfruit first gives it a different texture and flavor.
For the jackfruit to get the right flavor and texture, my goal is for the jackfruit to absorb the onions and BBQ sauce's flavors.
THE BBQ JACKFRUIT RECIPE IS QUICK AND EASY TO MAKE!
Believe it or not, bbq jackfruit has very few ingredients, and it is simple to make. All you need is:
- 2 20 ounce cans of jackfruit in water or brine (not syrup)
- 1 large white onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- BBQ sauce (I made my own; recipe below, or you can use any bottled brand you like)
- Buns (your favorite)
That's it! So, in 15 minutes, you can be eating delicious BBQ jackfruit sandwiches!
HOW DO I MAKE HOMEMADE BBQ SAUCE?
Because I prefer to make my condiments, I make my BBQ sauce when possible. Why should you make your own? You can only really know what is in your food by making it yourself, so I like to make it myself.
Of course, you can use your favorite BBQ sauce instead of making your own. But, if you are interested in making your own, this is what you need for healthier BBQ sauce:
HEALTHY BBQ SAUCE RECIPE
- White Onion, diced
- Organic Tomato Paste
- Tomato Sauce
- Pure Maple Syrup
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Vegan Worcestershire Sauce (I used Annie's)
- Dijon Mustard
- Cayenne Pepper
If you are looking for a store-bought oil-free BBQ sauce, I sometimes use Simple GIrl Organic BBQ Sauce. Also, I like a sugar-free one as well, but it is a Carolina BBQ sauce flavor called Simple Girl Carolina Style BBQ Sauce.
Again, if you are looking for a shortcut to making your BBQ sauce, you need to read the label to avoid oil and sugar by following a low-fat or no sugar lifestyle.
COOKING BBQ JACKFRUIT WITH ONIONS AND GARLIC
To get the right texture and dry out the jackfruit, you need to cook it in stages and wait to add the BBQ sauce.
Once the jackfruit is shredded, start by sauteeing the onions and garlic in a large non-stick skillet. I use vegetable broth while cooking the onions and garlic to avoid sticking, but as they cook, they caramelize.
Then, add the shredded jackfruit, and cook on medium-low, adding a little vegetable broth as it cooks until the jackfruit is dried out. Although this may sound incorrect, you are adding vegetable broth, and as it cooks, the jackfruit dries out.
The final step, of course, is to add the BBQ sauce. However, the amount of BBQ sauce you add depends on how much you want to add. We like it saucy, so I added more right before serving.
Another bonus to this easy BBQ jackfruit recipe is you can eat it immediately or make it ahead of time and reheat it when you want to eat. Since I meal prep, I cooked it beforehand, which in my opinion, lets the flavors go deeper into the jackfruit.
WHAT ARE THE SUGGESTED SIDES TO SERVE WITH JACKFRUIT?
Because I wanted a little salad with my BBQ sandwich, I topped my sandwich with Coleslaw with Apples. The slaw's maple, dijon, and apple flavors accompany the BBQ flavors. Since I made macaroni salad earlier in the day, I chose to serve it as a side dish.
Coleslaw with Apple Ingredients:
- Napa cabbage or white cabbage
- Purple cabbage
- Honeycrisp (or any sweet apples) + lemon juice
- Green onions
- Raw cashew
- Maple Syrup
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Dijon Mustard
- Liquid smoke (I used hickory flavor)
Also, I suggest these side dishes as well:
- AF Sweet Potato Fries
- Steak Fries Air Fried and Crispy
- Oven-Baked Fries Perfect Crispy Oil-Free and Garlic
- Oil-Free Smokey Scalloped Potatoes
- Vegan German Potato Salad with Smokey Coconut Bacon
What part of the jackfruit should you use for the pulled BBQ recipe?
For the pulled BBQ recipe, we usually use the fruit pods of the jackfruit. However, some are also using the fibrous material surrounding the pods due to their meaty texture.
Does jackfruit taste like pulled pork?
Almost. Jackfruit is a versatile fruit with a texture very similar to pulled pork.
IF YOU LOVE THIS BBQ JACKFRUIT RECIPE? TRY THESE VEGAN RECIPES:
- BBQ Tempeh Sandwich with Harvest Apple Maple Slaw
- Vegan BBQ Pulled Sweet Potato Sandwiches with Pineapple Slaw
- Greek Wrap Sandwich
- Vietnamese Bahn Mi Sandwich with Seared Sriracha Tofu
- Red Lentil Curry Wrap
- Vegan Tempeh Reuben Wrap
- Roasted BBQ Cauliflower Panini Wrap
- Roasted Vegetable and Hummus Grilled Lavash Wrap
Now you know how to make BBQ Jackfruit, share this fantastic BBQ Jackfruit Recipe with your family and friends.
Pulled BBQ Jackfruit
- 40 ounces jackfruit in water or brine drained and rinsed
- 1 large white onion
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- Vegetable broth to use to avoid sticking
Healthy BBQ Sauce (or BBQ sauce of choice)
- 1 recipe healthy BBQ sauce
Coleslaw with Apples
- 1 recipe coleslaw with apples
- Slice onions into thin slivers
- Saute sliced onions and garlic in a non-stick skillet
- Use vegetable broth to avoid sticking.
- Drain and rinse canned jackfruit
- Put all the jackfruit into a food processor with a large blade and pulse until shredded.
- When onions and garlic are browned, add shredded jackfruit to the skillet.
- Cook on medium, stirring until jackfruit is completely dried out.
- Add vegetable broth while cooking to avoid sticking.
- All fluid should be dissipated before adding BBQ sauce.
- Then add as much BBQ sauce as you like until jackfruit is coated.
- You may serve now on buns, in a wrap, or even as a salad topping, or you can store and reheat when ready to use.
HEALTHY HOMEMADE BBQ SAUCE
- Follow the directions for Healthy BBQ Sauce.
Coleslaw with Apples
- Follow the directions for Coleslaw with Apples.
- Buy bottled BBQ Sauce
- Purchase jackfruit already shredded in pre-packaged bags
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂
Tried this recipe again with your notes you emailed me on cooking the jackfruit. Thank you. Turned out great! I didn't add very mucj liquid and I tried not to stir it much and also did cook it for very long. I thought it would take a while to dry uo, but it doesn't. I took a picture and would share if I could. Thanks again
Hi Sherfina, I'm so glad it turned out I cook jackfruit like that regardless of the recipe to get the texture and flavor I want. Thank you so much for letting me know. It helps other cooks with jackfruit.