Jackfruit is a little-known ingredient that’s been gaining massive popularity. It’s a fruit native to South East Asia that has a unique texture and a delicate, creamy sweet flavour when ripe. In savoury dishes we use the young green variety which is not sweet and has almost no flavour, making it the perfect canvas to showcase bold bbq flavours. Its flesh also pulls apart into strings mimicking the look and texture of meat.
I’ve only ever seen young green jackfruit in a can, though I’ve seen the ripe fruit at Asian groceries. I always use Aroy-D brand, which you can purchase on Amazon, but any brand will do, as long as it’s canned in water or brine and NOT syrup.
I have tried many jackfruit dishes and recipes and I’ve never been satisfied. The jackfruit is always wet and mushy, bland, and slightly sour – definitely not appealing. I really wanted to like jackfruit, so I set out to find the solution myself. I settled on baking as the main cooking method for the jackfruit for a few reasons. First, the barbecue sauce gets a chance to caramelize in the oven, really infusing the fruit with its flavour. Secondly, the jackfruit dries out rather than steams like it would in a pan on the stove, and that gets rid of the mushy texture and allows for the edges to get crispy. It is worth the time to bake it. I promise you.
The first step to this bbq jackfruit recipe is to prepare a spice rub. The jackfruit sits in the bbq spice rub while we cook down some onions and garlic, and once they’re all nice and caramelized, we add the fruit. It cooks on the stove before going into the oven so that it can get tender enough to pull the flesh apart. Many recipes I’ve seen instruct you to remove the core and the seeds of the jackfruit, but this is just a waste of perfectly good jackfruit; while the core and seeds may be tough when raw, this cooking method allows enough time for them to soften up, and they provide a nice textural difference from the more tender jackfruit flesh.
Once the jackfruit is pulled apart, we lay it on a baking tray and slather it in bbq sauce. The brand you use is up to you, as long as it’s vegan. It’s then baked in the oven for a total of 40 minutes, during which time you can make the quick slaw. For the slaw you can either use store-bought vegan mayonnaise or make your own using my recipe for Easy Vegan Mayonnaise.
The jackfruit comes out of the oven and it looks un-freaking-believable. It’s a beautiful dark brown, it’s tender, it’s a little crispy on the edges, and just utterly perfect. Is your mouth watering yet? All that’s left to do is put that gorgeous jackfruit on a nice big bun, top it with some fresh, crunchy coleslaw, and chow down. Mmm mm.
I know you want to give this recipe a try. Who wouldn’t? Run out and grab some canned jackfruit and bbq sauce then get right into that kitchen and start cooking! What are you waiting for? Scrumptious BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sandwiches await! Drop me a line in the comments to let me know what you think!
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