BETTER THAN PULLED PORK!
Jackfruit has officially become my new best friend. I saw so many recipes featuring it pop up in the past 6 months, which intrigued me because in almost every recipe it was a standin for pulled pork. But being in the city, I couldn’t find the 40lb fruit anywhere. Carrying it home would be a different story entirely. Last week though, I found myself in a Whole Foods outside the city hunting for some ingredients for a work assignment, when there, near the main entrance by the pre-cut fruit I saw the glorious jackfruit already segmented into 5 lb pieces just for me. The original day’s menu was short-lived because BBQ jackfruit would replace it without a second thought. I have been dying to give this recipe a try for so long. I grabbed a few of the wrapped fruit and a package of whole wheat sesame seed buns and dashed to the checkout counter. Everything else, luckily, I could scrounge together at home.
I learned a lot during my first deconstruction and preparation of this tropical fruit. It’s such a remarkable beast of a food. The outside is very unassuming, but not, because it’s actually terrifying to the eyes with its raised porcupine shell. The inside is no better. But to refuse this thing because of its looks (or smell) would be a loss on the onlookers part, because getting a taste of the cooked meat could change your mind. It’s important to know how to cook and separate it though.
Here’s a video I found online that breaks it down: This video is for cutting ripe jackfruit which is a very similar process.
A few points:
- Preparation could take some time, so if you’re short on time, buy the young canned jackfruit in water or brine NOT Syrup and skip this step, although I highly recommend fresh jackfruit! 🙂
- Make sure you’re starting with unripe jackfruit because as the fruit matures the texture loses its fibrousness and the flavor intensifies making it more dessert-appropriate. Look for a jackfruit pale in color otherwise just use the canned or frozen jackfruit. It won’t work otherwise.
- Cut out the inner core connecting all the fruit together.
- Separate the seeds or “pods” from the fruit, but most importantly remove the silky, thin, outer shells of the seeds (these are crunchy and inedible in my opinion) In my case, I left the seeds which give it a heartier bean-like texture. If you’re really trying to mimic the pork texture though, it’s important to take them out.
- Cut away the shell AND the thick layer of skin attached to the shell (it’s about 1/2 inch thick) that is also attached to the stringy fruit (This skin reminds me of a thick pith of an orange. It’s bitter and tough to chew)
Jackfruits are basically made up of thousands of little flowers infused together, and that’s what gives it a texture that can replicate pulled pork. They are super high in protein, vitamin B. and potassium, and are only about 95 calories in 1/2 cup. The meat of the fruit is super versatile, and even the seeds can be used in various ways–they’re often boiled, roasted, or ground into flour. The fruit I bought was a little less ripe, and so the smell wasn’t as strong, but people have compared the ripened fruit to the smell of overripe mangos, peaches and even bubblegum. Which in my opinion makes it the perfect candidate to pair with a rich, deep, spicy sauce like my Bourbon Beet BBQ Sauce!
Here’s the recipe!
Bourbon Beet BBQ sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp fresh thyme (5-6 stems)
- 2 medium beets, cooked and cubed
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp bourbon
- 1/4 cup water
- Salt to taste
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the red onions, and garlic and cook until tender. Add the fresh thyme leaves and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant. Then add the cooked and cubed beets, salt to taste, and combine. Add the apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, dijon mustard, and bourbon and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the water and blend using an emersion blender or a regular blender. Set aside.
- 4 cups of cut young green jackfruit, inedible parts removed (mentioned above) (You can use canned if you can’t find unripe jackfruit.
- Salt and pepper
- 1.5 cups vegetable broth
- 4 whole wheat sesame seed buns (or gluten free buns if you can’t eat gluten)
In a large skillet add the jackfruit, salt and pepper, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cover with a lid. Cook until the fruit softens and liquid is absorbed. Pull apart using two forks. Spread the jackfruit on a sheet pan and toss with 1/3-1/2 cup of the BBQ sauce and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. Make the Slaw while waiting.
Brussels Sprouts Slaw
- 10-12 small brussels sprouts, stems and brown leaves removed
- Handful of thinly sliced red onion
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 heaping tbsp Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
In a medium sized bowl, combine the olive oil, yogurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and chopped parsley Slice the brussels sprouts into thin shavings and add them to the bowl along with the sliced onions. Toss everything together and serve on top of the pulled jackfruit. Enjoy!