BBQ Pulled Jackfruit

No 🐷 were harmed!

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We had just moved into our new apartment only a couple of weeks before Ciarán’s 35th surprise birthday party. The kitchen along with half the apartment was still unpacked. As I sorted through the remaining boxes, my mind raced coming up with the menu. Sliders, potato salad and tacos, were just some of the options I considered. However, I could not escape the memories of the barbecue I devoured in Asheville, North Carolina years prior.

The Asheville trip was in early 2011 when I was a fresh-faced vegan newly diagnosed with endometriosis. Which meant, I wouldn’t be trying any crispy burnt ends or pulled pork along with Colin and Peter. Instead I would be relishing Luella’s succulent Local BBQ Tempeh. The acid coupled with the tangy sweetness from the sauce was rounded out by smoke creating a classically layered bold barbecue flavour. I couldn’t get enough or a better introduction to barbecue as a vegan. I wanted to share that experience by recreating those sweet and spicy aromas for Ciarán’s birthday.

With that memory fresh in mind and armed with three-quarters of a kitchen, I began scouring the internet and combing through my cookbooks. I had never worked with or even had jackfruit, however it was hailed to be the closest to a pulled-pork substitute for texture. I was able to find a few cans of jackfruit in water at my local grocery store. It is important to get jackfruit in water and not in syrup. Otherwise you are going to have a very sugary dish.

The party was quickly approaching, so I decided to serve BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sandwiches. I wanted to create my own endo-friendly recipe while maintaining the classic barbecue layers of acid, sweetness and smoke. I incorporated turmeric for additional antioxidants and anti-inflammatory power along with ginger. Each help to combat my ever-growing painful bloat known as the ‘endo-belly’ and relieve my nausea. I thickened the sauce using molasses and added sweetness with maple syrup from my friend’s yard in Quebéc. The scotch, I used Macallan 12-year, provided an earthiness while the jalapeños rounded out the sauce by delivering a subtle afterburn.

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To finish off the sandwiches, I whipped up a quick coleslaw. I made the dressing from avocados and soy-free mayonnaise which provided a touch of creaminess and extra crunch. I didn’t have time to test out the recipe before the party, but from the silence and unison head nods, it was clear the sandwiches were well received. They even managed to fool a few carnivores!

Even though that was my first time making barbecue sauce as well as working with jackfruit, it was quite easy to prepare. So much so, I make this about once a month making it one of our staple recipes. The secret to this recipe is time, which is ideal when in the midst of a flare-up. The longer the barbecue sauce simmers, the bolder the flavours will become.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans young jackfruit
  • 1 tbsp soy-free butter
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 avocado
  • 1-2 inch knob of ginger
  • 1/4 cup cup of scotch
  • 1 796 ML can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 cup molasses
  • 1 tbsp real maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp nutmeg

Preparation:

  1. Drain and rinse the jackfruit in a strainer. Cut the triangle tip (the core) and discard. I like to roughly dice the remainder of the jackfruit however it is not required.
  2. Dice the shallot, ginger and garlic.
  3. Over medium heat, melt the soy-free butter in your large nonstick skillet. Add in the diced garlic and shallot.
  4. Once soft, about 3-5 minutes, add in the diced ginger and pour in the scotch.
  5. Cook for an additional 5 minutes before adding the can of crushed tomatoes and salt. Reduce for 10 to 15 minutes before adding in the molasses, maple syrup, liquid smoke and nutmeg.
  6. Once the sauce boils and bubbles add in the diced jackfruit. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
  7. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until tender.
  8. Turn off heat and remove the lid to allow the BBQ sauce to further reduce – about 5-10 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and serve!

PRO TIP: For additional texture, preheat the oven to 400F. Line an oven safe pan with parchment paper and spread out some jackfruit. Sprinkle enough olive oil to cover the jackfruit. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until crispy. Add to dish right before serving.

If you are unable to find canned jackfruit, I have also successfully used Upton Naturals Shredded Jackfruit.  

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