How to Make BBQ Jackfruit

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For those looking for meat alternatives, jackfruit is a marvelous plant-based, soy-free meat substitute. Jackfruit comes from a tree that is native to Southeast Asia, and has been a part of Asian cuisine for centuries. It can be found in the produce section of some grocery stores, and it looks like an over-sized green spiky mango.

To minimize some work, you can buy pre-packaged jackfruit from a can, or even pre-marinated jackfruit. Best served as a mock "tuna salad" or barbecue "pulled pork," jackfruit will help you get your meat fix in a healthful way. This easy barbecue jackfruit recipe has the same consistency as (and similar flavor to) pulled pork, and can be adapted using any of your favorite store-bought or homemade barbecue sauces.

How to make barbecue jackfruit
Image Credit: Julia Mueller

Things You'll Need

  • 2 (14-ounce) cans jackfruit, drained

  • 2/3 cup barbecue sauce

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder

  • Sea salt to taste


Try making this Basic Barbecue Sauce recipe, or even use a homemade Spicy Taco Sauce.

All you need for this easy recipe is jackfruit and barbecue sauce!
Image Credit: Julia Mueller

Step 1: Drain the Jackfruit

Open the can (or package) of jackfruit and drain it in a colander.

Open the cans of jackfruit
Image Credit: Julia Mueller
Drain the jackfruit
Image Credit: Julia Mueller

Step 2: Separate and Discard the Bulbs

Upon inspection, you'll notice there is a hard bulb-shaped mass in the center of each jackfruit.

Separate the jackfruit bulbs from the stringy flesh
Image Credit: Julia Mueller

For best results, remove these garlic-shaped bulbs and discard them. The flesh around the bulbs will be stringy and have the consistency of pulled or shredded meat. This is what you will use for your barbecue jackfruit dishes.

Discard the hard bulbs for best results
Image Credit: Julia Mueller

Step 3: Prepare Barbecue Jackfruit

Add the stringy jackfruit "meat" to a mixing bowl, along with your favorite barbecue sauce, chili powder, and sea salt. Mix well until all of the barbecue jackfruit is coated.

Combine all of the ingredients for barbecue jackfruit.
Image Credit: Julia Mueller

Step 4: Heat the Jackfruit

Drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium-sized non-stick skillet and heat to medium-high. Once hot, add the barbecue jackfruit mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until much of the moisture has burned off and the jackfruit is golden-brown and caramelized with barbecue sauce, about 8 to 10 minutes. Taste the jackfruit for flavor and add more sea salt and/or barbecue sauce to taste.

Step 5: Serve!

Get creative with your jackfruit recipes. You can serve it as an appetizer with homemade sweet potato chips, or store-bought crackers.

Barbecue Jackfruit Bites on Sweet Potato Chips
Image Credit: Julia Mueller

You can also serve barbecue jackfruit on a toasted bun, just like a pulled pork sandwich. The recipe pictured below is The Roasted Root's Pulled Jackfruit Sandwiches with Peach Bourbon Barbecue Sauce.

Barbecue pulled jackfruit sandwiches
Image Credit: Julia Mueller

Serve barbecue jackfruit on a bed of rice with cabbage slaw and green onion for a delicious vegan bowl.

Vegan Barbecue Jackfruit Bowl with Cabbage Slaw
Image Credit: Julia Mueller