Delicious homemade BBQ jackfruit recipe using fresh jackfruit (not canned) – a delightful vegan BBQ recipe for a pulled jackfruit ‘pulled pork’, to add to a variety of different meat-free dishes.
In the past few years, jackfruit has become an absolute staple at Vegan and Plant-based markets everywhere, with pulled jackfruit becoming a sensation. Most recently, we’re seeing UK based pizza brands adding vegan jackfruit ‘pepperoni’ to their menu’s. Now here is a delicious BBQ jackfruit recipe for jackfruit pulled pork with a homemade bbq sauce.
The pulled jackfruit is then a great addition to tacos, sandwiches, as a pizza topping, for a delicious Japanese donburi bowl, with creamy vegan mac & cheese and more.
Our love for this ingredient isn’t going anywhere any time soon. But what is jackfruit and how does it taste? Also, what exactly are its health benefits?
Don’t worry, all of those questions will be answered below along with how to prepare your jackfruit and a simple but delicious BBQ jackfruit recipe for a jackfruit ‘pulled pork’ style dish.
What Is Jackfruit?
Jackfruit looks – but thankfully doesn’t smell- like durian fruit from the outside -massive with a large greenish-yellow spiky skin. It is a tropical ‘urchin’ looking fruit that originates in many south-east Asian countries including Thailand and Indonesia (to name a couple) and has been used for tons of traditional recipes for a long, long time.
However, as I mentioned above- in the last decade we’ve begun to see it’s popularity boom throughout western countries too as it’s become a popular ingredient for making a vegan / plant-based meat alternative. If you’re wondering why this fruit works so well as a meat alternative – Jackfruit has the wonderful quality of soaking up the flavours of the what it’s cooked with. Which is why it’s perfect even for making savoury jackfruit pulled pork, as you’ll see in this BBQ jackfruit recipe.
Plus, having read a few articles on the matter, it seems like jackfruit is an excellent eco-friendly/ sustainable option too. Apparently, jackfruit growth has a low carbon footprint, low water footprint and is a cruelty-free product that doesn’t harm the local wildlife in any way.
More than that, the jackfruit tree is pest-resistant as well as drought-resistant, and a single tree can grow up to 200 fruits per year at varying weights. Oh, it’s also naturally gluten-free and low FODMAP, so yay.
While canned jackfruit in brine is now becoming more readily available, you know I always prefer to use the raw, fresh ingredients. And you certainly won’t forget your first time preparing this behemoth of a fruit and tasting its sweet fruit.
I found a fascinating article I wanted to share about jackfruit actually. According to this article by The Guardian, jackfruit could be a fantastic food to replace wheat and corn and other crops under threat from climate change. In fact, it’s so nutritious that eating just 10-12 ‘bulbs’ from a jackfruit would sustain you for half a day.
With that being said, you can see why we’d love to include it into our diets more and why I’m infatuated with this BBQ jackfruit recipe for jackfruit pulled pork.
What Does Jackfruit Taste Like?
There’s a little bit of a debate around what jackfruit tastes like. I think it can primarily come down to how ripe the fruit it and how it’s prepared.
Ripe jackfruit has been referred to as the ‘bubble gum’ fruit – and said to taste similar to bubble gum, with a very fruity odour. I’ve tended to liken my jackfruit to a sweet mango/ melon-like flavour, with a slightly more rubbery texture.
Other accounts have compared jackfruit to a variety of different fruits, including pineapple, banana etc. So I think the jury is still out on this one. You’ll have to try some of it for yourself and let me know in the comments what you think it tastes like.
For this recipe, we’re using a ‘young’ unripe jackfruit so that it isn’t as sweet in flavour. This more neutral jackfruit is lovely for making a jackfruit pulled pork, as the fruit combines magnificently with the sauce, sucking up the flavour of its surroundings.
Jackfruit Health Benefits
Jackfruit is impressive when it comes to its nutritional values and health benefits. Being reasonably low calorie – this fruit is made up of mostly carbs, an okay amount of fibre and a small amount of protein and fat. It’s worth noting that its protein content is impressive in comparison to many other fruits though at around 3g protein per cup serving.
That may not sound that impressive on its own, especially for those that are ‘carb wary’ (which is definitely not me. I love carbs ability to keep you fuller for longer and think a healthy carb intake is vital) – it’s the remaining nutritional information that is truly impressive.
Jackfruit pretty much contains some of every single vitamin and mineral you need – and not in measly 0-5% values but usually between 10-20% of the daily recommended intake. Some of these include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, manganese etc.
It also has a variety of different anti-oxidants, which you know are practically my favourite thing ever. Anti-oxidants work to protect our bodies against oxidative stress, aka harmful free radicals. These baddies can cause a whole host of health issues including heart disease, cancer and more.
these various nutrients work together for a variety of health benefits including improving heart health, gut health, lowering blood sugar levels and more.
How to Make the BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Recipe
- Young ‘unripe’ jackfruit ( for the 1.5kg of jackfruit pods used for this recipe, you’ll need a 3kg fruit)
- spices and onion
- BBQ sauce ( this, combined with the various spices will make a delicious homemade bbq sauce/ marinade)
- veggie broth (recipe here)
Note* If you don’t want to have to deal with raw jackfruit at all then you can use canned jackfruit. However, try to make sure it doesn’t have too many additives in with the jackfruit.
The first step in making this pulled jackfruit is to prepare the raw jackfruit by separating the various ‘elements’.
How to Prepare Jackfruit
I’m not going to lie; the process of preparing a jackfruit is definitely a ‘process’. The fruit itself is massive and needs to be separated into fruit, seeds etc. However, I think it’s worth it to prepare your own over buying jackfruit in brine.
Plus, I find the process reasonably cathartic to remove all the fruit ‘pods’ and seeds and separate everything into their individual piles. It’s also incredibly satisfying to see just how much product you get from the inside of these spiky tropical fruits.
To start, you’re going to want to coat your knife with some oil before cutting the young green jackfruit. I usually find that this is enough, but some people also oil their hands too. This is because jackfruit contains a sticky latex and is especially sticky when it’s unripe, and the oil help to cut into the fruit ( you will need to re-apply the oil, as necessary)
Now, it’s worth pointing out that there are a few methods to cutting into a jackfruit. I’ve tried them all, and you can get pretty great results with a majority of methods. For this recipe, I decided to slice large 1 1/2-2″ slices from the jackfruit. This makes each section manageable to remove the pods, seeds and leftover fibrous flesh and skin.
Alternatively, you could quarter the fruit, and de-core it then proceed with the next step.
For this recipe, we’ll be using the fruit ‘pods’ for the bbq jackfruit as that is the way I’ve always done it. However, a friend told me that they use the fibrous material around the pods as it already has the stringy nature and meaty texture. You can always experiment with both to see what you prefer.
You’ll need two bowls – one for the fruit ‘pods’, which should pull apart easily from the fruit. You then remove the seeds from inside the pods and place these in another bowl.
Note that the jackfruit seeds can be kept and boiled or roasted with seasonings as a lovely snack
Also, any remaining raw jackfruit can be frozen – place fruit bits in a freezer-safe glass container and freeze for up to two months.
For this pulled jackfruit recipe we’ll be using the pods, so you can place the seeds and remaining jackfruit to one side for now.
Thinly slice the onions and sauté them in a big pan for 2-3 minutes in a large skillet over medium heat. ( optionally add some olive oil )
Add the jackfruit and the spices – stir well the coat all the jackfruit with the spices.
Add the BBQ sauce and vegetable broth. Stir again. The combination of the spices, bbq sauce and broth will create a delicious barbecue sauce/marinade.
Simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
When the jackfruit has softened, you can mash it or pull apart bigger pieces with two forks. This is how you achieve the “pulled” effect.
If you’d like a softer, more saucy texture, you can serve the BBQ jackfruit now.
If you want more of a crispy, drier texture, place the jackfruit on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 160ºC (Fan assisted).
Serve quickly after baking for the best results.
If you try this BBQ pulled jackfruit recipe, I’d really appreciate a recipe rating. Also, feel free to tag me in your recreation on Instagram @AlphaFoodie.
BBQ Pulled Jackfruit
- 1.5 kg jackfruit
- 2 tBsp sesame oil
- 1 onion
- 2 tBsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 2 cups vegetable stock check my blog
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- The first step is to prepare your jackfruit. begin by coating your knife with some oil before cutting into the fruit (re-apply as needed)
- Next, you need to cut your jackfruit. There are a few methods of cutting into a jackfruit. I've tried them all, and you can get pretty great results with a majority of methods. For this recipe, I decided to slice large 1 1/2-2" slices from the jackfruit. This makes each section manageable to remove the pods, seeds and leftover fibrous flesh and skin.
- Separate the different parts of the jackfruit into different bowls; the fruit pods, seeds and the remaining flesh of the jackfruit* . For this recipe you'll be using the fruit pods so you can set everything else to one side for now.**
- Thinly slice the onions and sauté them in a big pan for 2-3 minutes with a little oil.
- Add the jackfruit and the spices - stir well the coat all the jackfruit with the spices.
- Add the BBQ sauce and vegetable broth. Stir again.
- Simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure it's not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- When the jackfruit softened, you can mash it or pull apart bigger pieces with 2 forks. This is how you achieve the "pulled" effect.
- If you'd like a softer, more saucy texture, you can serve the BBQ jackfruit now. However, if you want more of a crispy, drier texture, place the jackfruit on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 160ºC (Fan assisted).
- Serve quickly after baking for the best results.