This bbq jackfruit recipe is one of my all-time favorite plant-based comfort foods. Smoky, tangy, and just a little sweet, once cooked this fruit takes on a texture remarkably similar to pulled pork or chicken. I love to serve pulled bbq jackfruit all year round, and it goes down a treat with vegans and non-vegans alike.
What is jackfruit?
Jackfruit has been a popular fruit in Asia for centuries, used in both sweet and savory recipes. When ripe the fruit is naturally sweet, similar in taste to pineapple or banana, and can be eaten alone or with condensed milk and rice. Unripe, or young jackfruit, is less sugary and has a meaty texture, turning tender and succulent when cooked. It makes a fantastic meat substitute and is most often used as a 100% plant-based alternative to pulled pork and chicken.
Thanks to its glorious versatility, jackfruit has exploded in popularity in recent years and is now readily available in most grocery stores. Trader Joe’s, Krogers, Wegmans, and Wholefoods all stock canned jackfruit, with the price per can ranging between $2.50-$4. If you can’t find it in-store then you can also order online via our store.
For this pulled bbq jackfruit recipe make sure you use the young green variety in water or brine. The stuff that comes soaked in syrup will be much too sweet for this recipe.
Preparing the canned jackfruit
To prepare the jackfruit open the can and drain out the liquid. If preserved in brine then give the fruit a rinse under cold water to remove the excess saltiness, and pat dry. The jackfruit should pull apart in your fingers, and you want to create thin shreds in this way. Slice away the thicker sections near the core and seedpods, then cut into similar size chunks to the rest of the fruit. The seeds can be sliced up as well, or placed into the compost.
Season the pulled jackfruit
To give our BBQ jackfruit that deep, smoky, savory flavor we will use a combination of classic spices and seasoning. My favorites are chipotle powder, smoked paprika, and, if you have it, smoked salt. We want our jackfruit to taste like we have been grilling it over coals , so the smokier the better.
Tip your pulled jackfruit into a skillet over medium heat, and add the avocado oil, nutritional yeast, and spice mixture. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir the mixture, breaking up any remaining chunks of fruit. Make sure you completely coat your jackfruit in the spice mix. Not only will this infuse the fruit with those delicious savory flavors, but will also give your jackfruit a gorgeous color. Once coated, pour over the bbq sauce. Add a splash of water if you think it looks a little dry.
Cook the jackfruit for a couple of minutes over medium heat, just until the mixture is hot, then remove and serve.
How to serve BBQ Jackfruit?
There are so many ways to enjoy bbq jackfruit. I love to serve mine in:
- Corn tacos filled with bbq jackfruit, coleslaw, avocado and sliced jalapeño peppers (or whatever your favorite taco salads/toppings are)
- Crusty bread rolls stuffed with bbq jackfruit, creamy coleslaw and avocado
- Serve the bbq jackfruit on a plate with a side of baked beans, collard greens and corn bread
The best thing about this recipe is that you can use pulled bbq jackfruit for any recipe where you’re looking for a 100% plant-based ‘meaty’ filling or side. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Looking for more tasty + easy savory recipes?
Here are some of our readers favorites:
Tacos with Tempeh + Black Beans
‘Beef’ (seitan) and Broccoli with Black Bean Sauce
Rustic Onion Tart
We hope you enjoy this guide on how to make smoky + flavorful BBQ jackfruit using canned jackfruit! If you try our bbq jackfruit recipe, please let us know what you think with a comment and rating. Every bit of feedback helps make the Plant Riot even better.Print
- 1 can (20oz / 567 grams) green jackfruit in brine or water, drained (leave whole or thinly slice)
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons chipotle powder (alternatively use crushed red pepper), adjust to suit your desired heat level
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup smoky bbq sauce
- Salt and pepper, to taste (if you have smoked salt at home, use that!)
- Pull the jackfruit apart into small shreds, and thinly slice any of the thicker pieces from the core and seed pods (slice the seeds, or toss them in the compost).
- Into a skillet over medium heat, add the oil, jackfruit, nutritional yeast, chipotle powder, smoked paprika, onion powder and garlic powder. Stir to coat the jackfruit and if you find any chunky jackfruit pieces, use your spatula to breakup those pieces. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the smoky bbq sauce over the ‘pulled’ jackfruit mixture, add a pinch of salt (use smoked salt if you have it!) and a little freshly ground black pepper, stir to combine. Cook for a further 5 minutes, until the smoky bbq sauce and jackfruit is heated through and starts to become a little sticky. If the jackfruit starts to stick to the skillet, add a small splash of water and stir to combine.
- Remove the BBQ jackfruit from the skillet and serve while warm. Enjoy!
BBQ Jackfruit serving suggestions:
– fill tacos with bbq jackfruit, coleslaw, avocado and sliced jalapeño peppers (or whatever your favorite taco salads/toppings are)
– stuff a crusty bread roll with creamy coleslaw and avocado
– serve the bbq jackfruit on a plate with a side of baked beans, collard greens and corn bread
Keywords: bbq jackfruit, bbq jackfruit recipe, canned jackfruit, The Plant Riot
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