Pigs are friends, not food. Eat this BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich.

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by JL Fields on December 21, 2012

It has taken me forever to jump on the jackfruit bandwagon. I had it for the first time in LA when my step-mother ordered jackfruit “fish” tacos at Sage Oganic Vegan Bistro. Just a few weeks ago my husband had the jackfruit reuben at FüD. But, truthfully, it took a reader email to encourage me to try jackfruit myself. She asked if I had ever cooked with jackfruit (no) and would I mind trying it in the pressure cooker and let her know how it works?

Martie, this is for you!

Jackfruit is, well, a fruit. It’s flesh is very meaty and, when cooked, it shreds, so it’s become a darling among vegans who remember pulled pork sandwiches but now know that pigs are friends, not food. Vegan versions of “pulled pork” sandwiches with jackfruit abound on the interwebs.

I bought canned jackfruit, packed in water (NOT syrup), from an Asian market.

can of jackfruit

The jackfruit is pre-cut and not in a brine so I did nothing but rinse and drain the jackfruit before adding it to the pressure cooker.

I started to mix and match ingredients from a couple of my barbecue sauce recipes. Since the idea behind this recipe is to emulate “pulled pork” I used whole mustard seeds, instead of ground mustard, because it is commonly used to season cooked meat. The combination of the whole mustard seeds and cayenne pepper make this a very spicy dish.

BBQ Pulled Jack Fruit Sandwich with Avocado
BBQ Pulled Jackfruit

by JL Fields at JL goes Vegan
Serves 4


  • 1 tsp avocado oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 17-ounce can jackfruit, packed in water (NOT syrup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (use more or less, to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon date syrup (or maple syrup)


    Pressure Cooker Instructions

    1. Heat avocado oil on medium-high heat in an uncovered pressure cooker.
    2. Saute onion and garlic for just a few minutes.
    3. Add jackfruit and all remaining ingredients, stir, and lock the pressure cooker lid in place.
    4. Bring to pressure.
    5. Cook at pressure for 10 minutes.
    6. Allow for a natural release.
    7. Remove the pressure cooker lid, away from you.
    8. Stir the jackfruit and sauce well and begin to use your spoon, or a fork, to pull pieces into shreds. This should be very easy to do with your spoon.BBQ Pulled Jack Fruit in the Pressure Cooker

    Suggested Slow Cooker Instructions (with my thanks to Ambur)

    1. Mix all ingredients, except oil and jackfruit, in a bowl.
    2. Add oil to the slow cooker, the add the jackfruit.
    3. Pour the BBQ sauce over the jack fruit, coating it well.
    4. Cover and slow cook on low for 3 – 4 hours.
    5. NOTE: I have not tested these suggested slow cooker instructions – you may need to keep an eye on it to ensure there is enough liquid.

    BBQ Pulled Jack Fruit in a bowl

    One can of jack fruit makes enough for four hearty sandwiches.

    BBQ Pulled Jack Fruit Open Face Sandwich

    View and print recipe

    As I said, this is very spicy but my husband and I love hot and spicy (you are so naughty!) so we served the BBQ Pulled Jackfruit on avocado  to add a cooling element to the sandwich. If you prefer something less spicy, reduce the amount of cayenne pepper and/or whole mustard seeds.

    So, come on, I know you’ve done it. How have you used jackfruit?

    • Sprint2theTable

      I love jackfruit! Last year I made Jackfruit BBQ Tacos (http://www.sprint2thetable.com/2011/06/jackfruit-bbq-taco/), but you were much smart than I was… I use fresh jackfruit – it took FOREVER to cut out and it is the stickiest stuff I’ve ever handled. Will definitely be trying this canned variety next time. 🙂

      • JL

        @Sprint2theTable:disqus , would love the check out your recipe but the link doesn’t work – can you repost?

    • Elisa Camahort Page

      I have never tried jackfruit, let alone cooked with it. Very intriguing.

      • JL

        Try it! I think you’ll like it!

    • Claire

      Yup! In curries, stews, salads, ice ‘creams’ I love it! You can find my recipes here: http://www.skinny-vegan-food.com/p/recipes.html?search_term=jackfruit&ui=1112
      This recipe looks great, I’ll definitely be trying it- thanks!

      • JL

        Thanks, @93237e59166ecf88d8d658b616e764b6:disqus !

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    • martie

      I’m so excited that you tried this! It looks amazing! I used jackfruit to make “crab” cakes, but this is the ultimate recipe- the one I’ve been waiting to try! Thanks so much for doing this! Yay!

      • JL

        My pleasure, @1525631657c725c7ec3f52f6370ac0d1:disqus! Thanks for the inspiration!

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    • thechimes

      never tried jackfruit, but i didn’t know that they offered it in a can. that’s a neat idea. thanks for the inspiration.

      • JL

        You’re welcome, @thechimes:disqus! Hope you try it!

    • Leenie

      I love Jackfruit prepared this way. I’ll have to venture beyond the bbq version and try something different. But the pulled jackfruit sandwich is wonderful!!

      • JL

        I need to play with it a bit more, too, @48be86d34c0807824c2f470b13c59322:disqus!

    • I’ve only used jackfruit to make carnitas so far. I definitely need to try this BBQ version!

    • Ahhhhhh! I love working with jackfruit. It so remarkably mimics that shredded texture I used to get in the Tex Mex food of my youth. And I’m lovin’ the look of that bread, JL. I like mine all grainy (I see some good looking seeds peeking out) and majorly toasty, too! Thanks for sharing.

    • Shauna

      If allergic to latex, may not be able to eat jackfruit.

    • Sally Weigold Charette

      Thanks for posting this recipe! I made it once and promptly misplaced my copy of your book. Looking forward to taking this camping!

      • JL

        You are welcome, @sally@sallyweigoldcharette:disqus! Have fun!

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