I am beyond excited to show you all this marvelous creation, but I have to give credit where credit is due. I got the recipe from HomeSweetJones.com and while it may seem intimidating to turn fruit into BBQ pork replacement, this is by far the easiest recipe out there. Definitely head on over to their site to check out all the tasty things they’ve cooked up.
Jackfruit is another one of those “it” fruits that are big on the food blog scene right now. Vegetarians and vegans have been flocking to use jackfruit as a meat replacement in their recipes for a while now because of how much it resembles shredded meat.
Before we continue on, this is a bit of an embarrassment to admit on my fresh produce blog.
I had to use canned jackfruit.
You see, sweet fresh jackfruit is just that, sweet. In order to get the right texture you have to use a young jackfruit that hasn’t ripened yet. I’m sure some bigger cities and stores have an array of jackfruit on their shelves but let’s look at all the steps you have to take before eating a barbecue jackfruit sandwich. You need to find a store that carries fresh jackfruit, then you have to find a green one which can be a tricky task because it still needs to be green and firm. You then need to disassemble the jackfruit and cut it into pieces making sure you cut out the right parts, then you have to cook it until it is tender to use in the recipe.
You could also just buy a can available at most Asian grocery stores and open it up to skip all those steps.
I heard that Trader Joe’s actually has a line of canned and frozen jackfruit in a variety of flavors like chili and barbecue and used as a meat replacement. However, Trader Joe’s is not as common in my neck of the woods as it is elsewhere. The one Trader Joe’s we do have is in a strip mall in the crowded side of town and every time I have gone there I have not been impressed.
The crowds aren’t an advantage either, and you are talking to an Aldi master who deals with those crowds in small spaces. Did you know Trader Joe’s is actually owned by Aldi? There are two separate Aldi stores in Europe and one of them operates Trader Joe’s. There’s a little fun fact for you today.
Finding jackfruit for sale is no joke though. This is an issue I feel quite a few people may run into when searching for some canned or fresh jackfruit, or really any new fruits. Imported fresh produce is definitely a strain on the wallet and isn’t widely available. The canned varieties of most fruits and veggies are loaded with sodium and aren’t really representative of the fresh version but sometimes that is all you have to work with and you just have to do what you can do with them.
You want to make sure you get the young jackfruit in brine though because they also come in syrup for more dessert uses, but that won’t do for a savory sandwich. You need to also rinse them after you get them because that is just a good practice anyway for canned vegetables. It doesn’t eliminate all salt and preservatives, but it will help with sodium levels if you worry about that, and most Americans should but I ain’t about to judge.
You do need to cut on the canned pieces just a little bit though and separate the fibers from the core which I actually should have tried harder to do because I think most of my pieces still had fibers attached because it is slightly difficult to tell where the core is on a preserved piece of jackfruit.
Next is where things start to get interesting and relevant to sandwich time. You toss the pieces in a mix of spices and the transformation starts to seem more real. It smells great and you feel like you might be mixing up a bowl of chopped up pork in seasoning.
After you work some magic in a skillet with an onion and barbecue sauce, you come out with a mess that sure is tasty. However, you slather anything with barbecue sauce and an onion and it is going to be tasty. You are basically guaranteeing that any barbecue sauce fan would enjoy it. The real question is, how does it hold up?
So, little backstory here. I ate a bowl of gumbo the day after making it and froze the other bowl. That was actually the last time I have eaten any kind of meat. A long time ago, me and Robby tried to be vegetarians but it ended up with us just eating Taco Bell all the time, and even then I don’t believe the refried beans were vegetarian. We were also sharing a house with my brother and that means sharing a kitchen and fridge and just wasn’t enough space or time to fully explore the diet. Now that we have our own place and kitchen it is ten times easier to take up every nook and cranny.
I have been playing with the idea of trying to do the vegetarian thing for a while now and one of our friends actually went full on vegan which made me think about it more. I admit that when it comes to family gatherings or holiday events I may indulge in a bit of ham or hot dog, but if I can help it I won’t.
On that note, my last taste of meat had been a while and here I am making a skillet full of fake pulled pork and I take my first bite.
It isn’t pulled pork, but it isn’t bad.
I’m sure there are a multitude of tricks to make it a little tougher to more resemble meat, but this is pretty dang close. If you have been craving a barbecue sandwich and don’t eat meat, I can see why you would flock to the jackfruit. It has the same mouth feel before you start chewing and when you pair it with a pickle and some mustard, well, let’s just say I put some of these away pretty quickly.