Jumpin’ Jack(fruit) Flash!

Looks can be deceiving. No, we have not turned carnivorous!

Back in my meat-eating days, I disliked pork. The mere idea of scoffing down our porcine friends made me nauseous. As an Italian, one would think I couldn’t get enough of it, especially with sausage and peppers (I ate veal ones instead). I even got into a one-sided debate with Macaroon’s aunt, who was rather upset about my disgust and refusal to eat even bacon.


Side note: I even have an aversion to fish. I literally run as far away as I can from the sight of a fish market. Yeah, I guess I’m weird.

One day, Mac was online looking up vegan recipes to try. She came upon one for a mock pulled pork sandwich. The idea of even mock pork and mock fish gives me the heebeegeebees. So I was rather reluctant to try it. However, Mac being half-Southern couldn’t give up her love of barbecue. So she was determined to try it and make try it with her (Oy vey).

The “pork” is actually jackfruit. Jackfruit is a fruit that is starchy and fiberous. It has the texture of meat and is used often in Southeast Asian and Caribbean dishes. It can be found canned in brine or in syrup. Finding that sucker around these parts was definitely a challenge, which is odd because we live in a neighborhood with a significant Carribean community. Nevertheless, we did find it at an Asian market not too far from us.


The recipe, found at Chowvegan.com, called for young green jackfruit in brine. We did pick up a couple of cans of that, along with jackfruit in syrup, which I would expect to be sweet (Mac and I will figure out what to do with that soon enough). I was expecting for something like this being a bit rare and the prices would reflect it. However, it was about the same price you would pay for a can of pineapple or pears.

I followed the instructions exactly from the recipe, in addition to the tweaks noted in the comments. For example, rather than just cooking the jackfruit in our crockpot for an hour, I slow-cooked it on low for about 8 hours, occasionally adding barbecue sauce and a 2-3 Tbsp. of vegetable oil to keep the fruit moist.

The outcome was remarkable. The texture and taste of the jackfruit was spot on with pulled pork or even pulled barbecue chicken. We initially had this on top on a piece of cornbread (thanks to Ester’s Treats) with a side of fries and corn. It was delicious! Then we had it in a couple of buns the next night and it was even better!


BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich
Serves 2

Ingredients:
  • 1 20 ounce can young green jackfruit in brine
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup + extra BBQ sauce, bottled or homemade
  • Hamburger buns
Directions:
  1. Drain and wash the jackfruit in several changes of water. After washing, squeeze out as much water as you can.

  2. In a pan, heat the oil and sauté the garlic. Add the jackfruit and salt to taste, and cook for a 3-4 minutes over medium heat.

  3. Transfer the jackfruit to a slow cooker, add the BBQ sauce and mix well. Set the cooker for 1 hour, occasionally stirring and adding more sauce or water as needed. The jackfruit should be fork tender and come apart easily.

  4. Take the jackfruit out of the cooker and shred with a fork. Let the jackfruit sit for several hours or overnight to further develop the flavor or if it taste good to you right out of the pot, dig in. Serve on toasted buns with your choice of more BBQ sauce, mayo, coleslaw or pickles.
Note from Artie: Definitely check out the post at ChowVegan.com to review comments and recommendations on how this recipe can be tweaked.
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