Monday, May 23, 2011

"Pulled Pork" Jackfruit Sandwiches

When I saw the recipe for this sandwich I thought that it was too good to be true and too crazy to taste good. Fortunately, I was dead wrong and this recipe for vegan pulled pork sandwiches tastes incredible, is high in fiber, low fat, low cal and is gluten free adaptable (if you use GF bread).

But what exactly is jackfruit and how does it become this lovely sandwich?

Well. Jackfruit is this giant, prickly, starchy African fruit that has an extremely mild flavor (perfect for picking up the flavors of your pulled pork rub/sauce) and is difficult to find in most run-of-the-mill grocery stores - canned or fresh. However, most Asian markets carry canned jackfruit (just make sure to get it in BRINE not SYRUP) and, as a plus, it's like $1.79 a can and 1 can equals about 3 sandwiches.

I, for one, could not believe that this odd, insubstantial fruit turned into such a fantastically textured, hearty (dare I say "meaty"?) sandwich.

In fact, the only thing I would do differently with this recipe next time is use slightly more liquid in the simmering process and spend slightly less time chatting with friends and making drinks when it's in the oven because my sandwiches ended up a teensy bit dry (hence the Sriracha). Still! The texture was amazing and I will know better for next time to use more liquid and less oven.

(The original recipe that I adapted to make these sandwiches is here.) 

"Pulled Pork" Jackfruit Sandwiches
  • 1 can Jackfruit in BRINE. Rinsed. (The original recipe says to separate the core or inner pieces from the stringy bits but I didn't do this and it turned out fine. I just had to mash those pieces with a fork)
  • 1/2 a yellow onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 buns! 
For the Dry Rub
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp paprika 
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper 
For the Wet Sauce
  • 3 Tbs tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs BBQ sauce
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Braggs or soy sauce
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke  
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbs agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup veggie broth
Place your rinsed and drained jackfruit in a bowl and coat evenly with your dry rub spices. Throw it in either a sauce pan or a fry pan (just make sure it has a lid!) and, over low to medium heat (no oil), lightly toast your jackfruit pieces until they begin to turn brown on all sides (I did this for the same amount of time it took me to do the next step - so about 6-8 minutes).

In a separate skillet, bring some oil up to medium heat and add your onion, stirring occasionally for about 4-5 minutes until beginning to carmelize. Toss in your garlic and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Whisk together the ingredients for your wet sauce.

After your jackfruit is toasted, add the onions and garlic and then pour the whisked wet sauce over the top. Cover your pan and simmer all the ingredients for about 20 minutes. Then, using a fork, begin to pull apart the jackfruit pieces in the pan. Add more veggie broth if your jackfruit is starting to look dry and then simmer for another 15 minutes. This will give the jackfruit ample time to soak up the ingredients. While the jackfruit is simmering for the last 15 minutes, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

After the full 35 minutes are up, remove your jackfruit from the stove top and transfer it to a cookie sheet. Using that same fork you used before, finish pulling apart the jackfruit pieces, taking extra care to mash any center pieces that are still in tact. Place the jackfruit in the oven for about 10 minutes to help tenderize the fruit and lock in the flavors a little more.

Remove the "pulled pork" mixture from the oven and spoon directly onto toasted buns.

Top with additional sriracha or BBQ sauce as you see fit.


Feel free to do a little yes dance as you eat this sandwich if you can coordinate it.

It's that good.

Live long and prosper! And eat vegan foods made out of strange African fruits.


  1. Thank you so much for this recipe!! All of the other Jackfruit BBQ calls for slow cooking and I didn't have time for that! This is a great dish (I added homeade slaw) and I'm not even vegan or vegetarian! Maybe more recipes like this will change my mind. Who knows??? Delicious!

  2. I'm so glad you liked it! There are so many fun ways to use jackfruit. I recently spotted a recipe of jackfruit 'crab' cakes that I am dying to try. Another option is to cook jackfruit in a slow cooker or crock pot - then you don't even have to think about it!! Give it a shot :)