A couple of weeks ago I was at a nutrition conference, and I spoke to someone who asked me if I’d ever tried barbecued jackfruit. I hadn’t, but I was certainly intrigued. The next day I ordered six cans of jackfruit from Amazon and began looking at recipes online. I immediately tried a recipe I found on Pinterest, and I really didn’t like the seasonings or the sauce I chose. So, it was time for me to experiment with seasonings until I found the barbecue flavor I desired.
I decided to look for inspiration from the Queen of Southern cooking herself, Paula Deen. I ended up basing my BBQ jackfruit recipe off of her barbecued pork roast recipe — and it’s life-changing!
I mean, just look at this beautiful barbecue!
Who knew something so glorious could come from such a hideous fruit???
It’s crazy how much BBQ jackfruit looks like BBQ pork. And because it’s seasoned just like pork, the taste is spot-on! The only difference is that the jackfruit isn’t quite as chewy as pork, but who cares? It has all of the flavor and none of the saturated fat or cholesterol. It’s a miracle!
If you’ve never purchased jackfruit before (I hadn’t), it’s best to buy it canned in water. You can order it from Amazon or buy it at an Asian market. I recommend the 20-oz. cans because one can makes enough barbecue to serve two people.
I’ll admit, I gagged a little when chopping these up. Weirdest. Fruit. Ever.
You could serve this BBQ jackfruit on a boring old bun like people who eat a standard American diet typically do, or you can eat like a plant-based person and try it in a quesadilla, in a sweet potato boat with slaw, or on a salad!
I’m sharing with you two ways I recommend serving this vegan barbecue, but I encourage you to get creative! Show your omnivore friends that you don’t need meat to make awesome barbecue 🙂
First, let’s start with the basic barbecue recipe . . .
- 1 20-oz. can jackfruit (in water)
- ½ t. salt
- Several grinds fresh black pepper
- 1 t. coconut sugar
- 1 t. paprika
- Dash cayenne pepper
- ½ c. apple juice
- ¼ c. apple cider vinegar
- 1½ t. Worcestershire (vegan)
- ½ t. liquid smoke
- ½ t. garlic powder
- 1 t. molasses
- ¼ c. BBQ sauce (I used Desert Pepper Ol' Smokey)
- Drain, rinse, and roughly chop your jackfruit.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the salt, pepper, coconut sugar, paprika, and cayenne. Add the chopped jackfruit and toss to evenly coat. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, stir together the apple juice, ACV, Worcestershire, liquid smoke, garlic powder, and molasses. Place pot over medium heat.
- Carefully transfer the seasoned jackfruit pieces to the pot. Do not stir the jackfruit yet, or all of the seasonings will be washed off of the tops. When the liquid starts to boil, cover the pot and reduce heat to simmer about 30 minutes.
- Remove lid and, using two forks, pull apart the pieces of jackfruit to create fibrous pieces similar to pulled pork.
- Stir in the BBQ sauce and increase heat to medium, keeping the lid off of the pot to evaporate the extra liquid. This should take 5 to 10 minutes.
- Now you're ready to serve your BBQ any way you like!
One fun way to serve this BBQ jackfruit is in a sweet potato boat!
The best way to do this is to bake a sweet potato at 400 degrees F until soft, about 30-40 minutes (depending on the size of your tater). Cut the potato in half, scoop out some of the center, and spoon a hearty amount of BBQ into the halves. Top with slaw, and serve!
Here is the quick avocado slaw recipe I used:
- 1 cup slaw mix (or shred cabbage and carrots yourself)
- A few grinds black pepper
- Juice of half a lime
- Pinch sea salt
- Heaping T. mashed avocado (or guacamole)
- Optional: pinch chopped cilantro
- Stir all ingredients together. Taste for seasoning.
Another delicious way to serve this BBQ jackfruit is in a quesadilla! I made a BBQ quesadilla with caramelized onions and hummus on a whole grain tortilla. I cooked mine in a panini press, and it was fantastic! So rich and full of flavor and texture.
I’m in love!
I used plain hummus to bind the quesadilla together, but anything that’s mild and creamy would work! Mashed avocado or guacamole would be fantastic, because it would balance out the strong flavor of the barbecue. If you try something else that you like, let me know!
- 2 whole grain tortillas
- ~1/2 cup hummus or guacamole
- ¾-1 cup BBQ jackfruit (see recipe above)
- ½ cup caramelized red onions (saute in a splash of water until browned)
- On each tortilla, spread a generous amount of hummus or guacamole. On half of each tortilla, spread the jackfruit and caramelized onions. Fold the halves over each other to make two half quesadillas.
- Serve the quesadillas as they are, or crisp them in a pan, a panini press, or with a grill pan.
- Serve with mango salsa and a green salad. Enjoy!
I recommend making a big batch of BBQ jackfruit so you can serve it many ways!
What’s your favorite way to eat barbecue?
What’s your favorite BBQ sauce?