The Ultimate Jackfruit “Pulled Pork” with Homemade BBQ Sauce [Vegan] [Video]

This luscious bbq jackfruit “pulled pork” recipe has everything you love, a sweet, tangy sticky sauce and a chewy meaty texture — sans the actual meat. Never worked with jackfruit before? No worries, it’s easy. Watch the video and we’ll walk you through it.

Image of a vegan bbq jackfruit pulled pork slider with slaw on the bottom, bbq jackfruit "pulled pork," red onion, on a bun. All on a sheet pan with parchment paper, with french fries scattered around.

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A new take on pulled pork popping up on menus everywhere is amazingly meatless yet just as flavorful. BBQ jackfruit pulled pork makes the perfect sandwich or taco filling. With a chewy, meaty texture that shreds perfectly, there’s no need for meat with jackfruit. Read on to get the recipe below, and watch the video to be guided through the whole process. 

Vegan, vegetarian or just interested in diversifying your meatless Monday routine? Give these savory vegetarian grilling weather staples at try: Best Black Bean Burger Recipe with Caramelized Onions, or our Spicy Quinoa Black Bean Burgers, Creamy Homemade Vegetarian Refried Beans, Surprisingly Healthy Black Bean Dip, and the Ultimate Vegan Baked Potato

Vegan BBQ Jackfruit Pulled “Pork”

Jackfruit is a great substitute for pulled or shredded meat. It soaks up seasonings, easily adapting to a variety of flavors.

Can You Cook Jackfruit Like Meat?

Image of a vegan bbq jackfruit pulled pork slider with slaw on the bottom, bbq jackfruit "pulled pork," red onion, on a bun. All on a sheet pan with parchment paper, with french fries scattered around.
Because of its “meaty” texture and mild flavor, jackfruit “pulled pork” is an excellent substitute for vegans, vegetarians, or anyone who wants to eat less meat.

Jackfruit may be a new food trend in the U.S., but in Southeast Asia and India, jackfruit has been enjoyed for centuries. A large tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia, jackfruits are massive fruits—the largest tree-born fruits in the world—that can weigh up to 100 pounds. In its native regions, jackfruit has been eaten on its own, in desserts, and in curries. But can jackfruit be cooked like meat? Absolutely.

When cooked properly (we’ll show you how), jackfruit transforms into dishes that resemble pulled pork or shredded chicken in both taste and appearance. Specifically, unripe young jackfruit, is ideal for savory dishes and enjoyed as a meat substitute. Its neutral flavor readily absorbs the seasonings and sauces it’s cooked with. 

This swap allows anyone to enjoy familiar dishes without compromising dietary preferences. Whether you’re plant-based or not, it’s downright tasty. In addition to this delicious bbq “pulled pork” recipe, jackfruit is ideal for use in tacos, burritos, and flavored any which way in a buddha bowl.

Jackfruit peaks in late spring and summer in Asia where it grows abundantly. You can find canned jackfruit year round though and whole jackfruit may even be available still in its off-season.

When you’re done devouring your sliders, come back here and leave us a comment with your honest take! Do you love BBQ jackfruit as much as we do?

Where to Buy Jackfruit to Use in Jackfruit BBQ

Image of a bbq jackfruit pulled pork sandwich, open faced with cole slaw nestled under the bbq jackfruit, top bun in the background with mayo, french fries scattered around the pan.
As you can see, this bbq jackfruit pulled pork recipe is a taste twin of its meaty counterpart AND a stunning lookalike!

Jackfruit can be found both in its whole form or in cans in Asian markets. A whole jackfruit is usually priced per pound and ranges in weight anywhere from five to 30 pounds. Fresh jackfruit costs around one dollar per pound. Jackfruit can also be found in the canned goods aisle packed in syrup, brine, or less commonly found, water. Canned jackfruit costs around one dollar per can.

Does Jackfruit Taste Like Pulled Pork?

Image of a can of young jackfruit in brine next to a teal colander strainer filled with canned jackfruit perfect for vegan jackfruit pulled pork recipe via Organic Authority.
If using brined young jackfruit from a can for the vegan jackfruit pulled pork recipe, we recommend giving it a good rinse beforehand.

For jackfruit pulled pork, you’ll want jackfruit in brine or water. Jackfruit in syrup should only be used if being eaten as dessert as it will not work for jackfruit pulled pork. Some vegan chefs swear by jackfruit in water but jackfruit in brine will produce similar results, the brine being a bit more flavorful.

The difference between fresh jackfruit and canned jackfruit is the canned jackfruit is an unripe “young jackfruit.” Young jackfruit has a meaty texture while fresh ripe jackfruit is more tender and sweet. If you plan to use fresh jackfruit, be sure to buy an unripe one. You can tell it is not yet ripe by checking that it isn’t fragrant and is still firm.

How Do You Cut Jackfruit for a “Pulled Pork” Recipe?

Image of a bamboo cutting board with wedges of young jackfruit being cut with a chef's knife for use in a jackfruit bbq recipe via Organic Authority
Jackfruit has been used as a meat alternative for centuries in Asia and makes for a luscious substitution for your “pulled pork.”

Canned jackfruit is easy to cut and will be mostly mess-free. Simply drain and rinse the jackfruit and transfer to a cutting board. Cut the core, which will be the dense part and discard. Pull apart the jackfruit so a shredded consistency is achieved and place into a bowl.

If you are using fresh jackfruit, you will need to buy an unripe one for this jackfruit pulled pork recipe with barbecue sauce. Be prepared to deal with a lot of stickiness and cleanup after cutting fresh jackfruit. Jackfruit contains a sticky “latex” sap that adheres itself to knives and hands during the cutting process.

Line countertop with towels or plastic wrap for easy clean up and wear a pair of gloves. Rinse jackfruit and place on a large cutting board. Coat a large chef’s knife with coconut oil. Cut jackfruit into large rounds. Coat the knife in more oil if necessary.

How Do You Cook BBQ Jackfruit?

image of pulled jackfruit in a stainless steel bowl ready to be used in a bbq jackfruit recipe.
Bbq jackfruit has the appearance of pulled pork and you’ll love the way it tastes.

For this recipe, the first step of cooking the jackfruit is to brush the jackfruit slices with coconut oil. Cut out the white core in the center of each slice and discard. Once the core is removed, the edible, fleshy pod will be exposed. Remove each pod and pull off any white stringy pieces covering it until the pod is fully exposed. Place the pods into a large bowl.

Next, you’ll need to remove the seeds from each pod. Simply tear or cut each pod in half and remove the jackfruit seed. Jackfruit seeds are edible once cooked so you can reserve these and save for later use.

Once all the seeds are removed, the jackfruit is ready for cooking.

Is BBQ Jackfruit Pulled Pork Healthy?

Image of vegan jackfruit pulled pork recipe, close-up in a nonstick skillet.
Compared to the “real” thing, this vegan jackfruit pulled pork recipe is considered healthy. Read below to see why.

Because jackfruit can be consumed at different times of maturity, the nutrition profile of the fruit may change with the stages of ripeness. But generally speaking, a 100-gram serving size contains 95 calories and about 25 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin B6. In its raw state it contains a notable amount of vitamin C (10-19 percent), and it’s also a good source of potassium, B1, B2, folate, vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium, and dietary fiber.

As a meat substitute, jackfruit isn’t a huge source of protein—only about two grams per serving. Compared with other vegan meats, it’s considerably low. But it can be easily paired with other vegan proteins such as beans, seitan, or tofu to amp up the protein profile of a meal. (Or top it off with avocado, which is comparable in protein per serving, and you’ve got the protein equivalent of a large egg. Not bad for two fruits.) If you want to learn more about jackfruit, read What is Jackfruit and Why is it in Your Tacos.

Jackfruit is versatile and can be used as a substitute in other “meaty” recipes, like smoky sweet potato taquitos and hearty burrito bowls.

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3 Servings

Ingredients

Preparation

  1. To make the barbecue sauce, add 2 teaspoons olive oil to a saucepan and heat over medium-low (we love this saucier for making all of our saucy sauces!). Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add tomato puree, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, molasses, sea salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, pepper, and cayenne. Whisk until well combined.
  3. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Drain and rinse jackfruit if using canned. Place jackfruit on a cutting board and cut out the core. Using your fingers or two forks, shred the jackfruit into a bowl.
  6. Add barbecue sauce to the bowl of jackfruit and stir. Stir until jackfruit is completely coated.
  7. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 1 hour.
  8. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat (this clean ceramic nonstick skillet is a fave of ours. Read our clean cookware guide to see all of our favorite picks). Add 1 tablespoon safflower oil. Add jackfruit and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
  9. Serve BBQ jackfruit pulled pork on a bun with desired toppings. Enjoy

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