A few years back I went to a dinner party where the host left a giant Jackfruit on the table as the center piece and cut into it for all of us to enjoy. He was a professional chef and made cutting into it look easy! He left the seeds in for us to eat around but he sliced it up swiftly and easily and it was so tasty.
According to Wikipedia the “origin (of Jackfruit) is in the region between the Western Ghats of southern India and the rain forests of Malaysia.” Jack fruit tastes like a mango and a cantaloupe got together and had a very spiky child that is HUGE. The fruit itself is in the same family of fruit like figs and mulberry but is nowhere as easy to eat. The cool thing about jack fruit is that it has the same texture as pulled pork and is often used in vegetarian/vegan cooking.
It’s no secret that I enjoy trying to make delicious food that my vegetarian fiance will eat and I won’t get bored with it. It’s really the second part. During quarantine, YouTube cooking shows are our main source of entertainment, and one personality made Southerns Style Jackfruit BBQ. So it got me thinking of what I could make with it. After falling into a YouTube hole of watching people cooking and peeling this fruit I was ready to dive in. I found a small jack fruit at Wegman’s and brought it home. I say “small” but keep in mind it was about nine pounds, but there were larger available.
I used Annie’s Vegan Worcestershire Sauce in this recipe. I like how it tastes like the Worcestershire Sauce my parents used but does not have anchovies in it.
Cutting into a jack fruit takes time. Allow for about 30 minutes just to process the fruit. All the YouTube videos suggested oiling the blade of your knife with vegetable oil to assist in cutting through the Jack Fruit. I sharpened my knife before I started and then oiled my knife. I’m not sure if oiling it did anything, but sharpening really made a difference. There is a core inside the fruit that is tough and difficult to cut through, also there are seeds that will get caught on your knife. Be careful.
When you are cutting into the fruit there are 4 parts of the fruit. The bright yellow, is the fruit you’re trying to free from the light yellow strings, seeds, and core. The seeds can be roasted in eaten. I cut ended up cutting it in half, then cutting each half in half and once again. So it was about 8 pieces that I cut off the core. Once I removed the core, it was easier to remove the fruit. My “small” fruit almost filled the 4.5-quart bowl of my Kitchen Aid Mixer. To save yourself a headache, you can sometimes find canned jack fruit, use the one canned in water and use about 3 or 4 of them. If I do this again, I will buy canned jackfruit.
Jack Fruit is already a sweet base, so while brown sugar is common in pulled pork recipes, I only use a little to give a molasses taste but not enough to give the sweetness
Season this how you would season pork.
I decided that I was going to cook this low and slow-ish. I put it in at 300 for 3 hours before kicking up the temperature to 400 for the last 30 minutes. We got hungry.
Clean Up Note
I used my cast iron skillet on this and left it to cool to room temperature while doing other things after dinner. So there was stuck on the barbecue. I scraped out as much as I was able to before putting it on the stove and filling it halfway with water. I turned the stove to high and allowed the water to boil. This allowed me to scrape off the stuck on pieces. After everything was scraped off, I dumped the water returned it to heat for the water to evaporate, and gave a tablespoon of oil to re-coat it. Since I had so much water in it. I decided to heat it in the oven on 400 for about a half-hour just to make sure it was dry.
Vegan Jackfruit Barbecue Pulled “Pork” & Perfect Barbecue Sauce
- Cast Iron Skillet
Barbecue Pulled Jackfruit
- 1 Small Jackfruit or 4 cans of jackfruit in water
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 Tbsp Salt
- 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 2 tsp Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tsp Liquid smoke
- 1 tsp Pepper
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp Garlic
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Cup Ketchup
- 1/2 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
- 1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly Packed
- 1 tbsp liquid Smoke
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp Cayenne
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 6 Burger Buns
- Cole slaw Optional
- Process the Jack Fruit by cutting it in half longways and remove the fruit from the core and other parts of the fruit (or open and drain can)
- Preheat oven to 300
- Mix vegetable stock and spices together. Dump over jack fruit before pouring out into cast iron skillet. Put in oven.
- Mix every hour to prevent burning
- At hour 3, make barbecue sauce by mixing everything together. Mix 1 cup of sauce into jackfruit.
- At Hour 4, turn oven temperature up to 425 and roast for 30 minutes.
- Serve on buns with coleslaw.
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For more Meatless Monday Recipes, check out my other recipes.