Using jackfruit in place of pork for a BBQ pulled “pork” is not an original idea. Vegans all over the internets have been doing it for a while now. I’ve used jackfruit in tacos already but with a Caribbean vibe with my Shredded Jerk Jackfruit Tacos.
My inspiration to do a BBQ sauced jackfruit to mimic pulled pork came from my trip to Vida Vegan Con ’13 in Portland. One of the exhibitors during the Breakfast Showcase was Sizzle Pie and along with pizzas they also served these tasty little BBQ jackfruit sliders with sauteed kale inside. I knew I wanted to replicate this. I had fully intended on making little mini slider buns but on a busy weeknight where we were going in all different directions and I just needed to get something in our bellies. So corn tortillas from the freezer were the perfect stand-in.
Apparently Levi likes anything in taco form. He told me so while shoving these in his face. I don’t doubt him one bit.
Sorry Levi, I had to do it. Also, isn’t having an animated .gif on my site so much fun? And so simultaneously 1997 and 2013.
This recipe is super simple because you can use your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce or if you’re ambitious – I wasn’t this particular evening – you can make your own. I haven’t yet had enough need to make my own BBQ sauce but now I’m really thinking I should. One of these days I will, I promise. Since everyone seems to have their own favorite BBQ sauce I’m also not going to recommend one because I really think the flavor is a matter of personal preference.
The liquid smoke is completely optional. It was the first time in the history of my entire life that I used liquid smoke in something. I bought it on a whim for another recipe that is still in the works and turned out I didn’t need it so it sat in the cupboard forgotten. Levi, bless his part-time meat-eating heart, said my pulled jackfruit wasn’t quite “porky” enough to pass as pulled pork. (Let me be exceedingly clear here … I am not ever interested in replicating the flavor of pork or having my food pass as real pork. That’s just never been my style or what I’m about.) A couple dashes of liquid smoke and it was just enough to make the jackfruit taste like it had been cooked slowly over a wood fire, in a good way. If you don’t have liquid smoke or would prefer not to use it, it’s not a make-or-break ingredient here. Like I said already, totally optional.
The lightly sautéed kale works so great in this dish. The slight bitterness of the kale works so well to balance out the sweet tanginess of the BBQ-sauced jackfruit.
Canned jackfruit comes in triangular chunks. These chunks have a tough part which you can cut away and mince up and use. The outer edges of the triangles will pull apart by hand and you’ll understand why vegans have been using this as a replacement for pulled pork and shredded chicken. In the shredded part you may also find large seed-like bits. Just chop those up and use them too.
Where do you find jackfruit? This recipe uses canned green jackfruit in brine. Not fresh jackfruit. Not ripe jackfruit canned in syrup. I find my canned green jackfruit in brine in the Asian foods aisle of my supermarket and at the Asian markets in my city. I’d suggest trying those places first. You can also buy canned green jackfruit in brine from Amazon (affiliate link), if you can’t find it anywhere else.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 x 19 oz cans green jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed well
- ½ cup your favorite BBQ sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ - ½ cup water, as needed
- 1 - 2 dashes liquid smoke
- 1 large bunch kale, tough stem and ribs removed and sliced thinly
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- Pinch of salt
- 12 corn tortillas, warmed
- Shred the jackfruit and chop any tougher parts.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the jackfruit. Sauté for about 5 minutes.
- Add BBQ sauce and Dijon mustard. Stir to combine. Add about half the water and stir. Continue to sauté for another 5-8 minutes stirring often. Taste and decide if you want to add liquid smoke. If so, add it now.
- Add the remaining water, if needed. Stir well. It shouldn't be watery or runny but it shouldn't be dry and sticking to the pan either.
- In another skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chopped garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add the sliced kale and sauté about 4-5 minutes until just wilted. Do not overcook. Season with salt, if needed. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Assemble your tacos with a bit of the shredded BBQ jackfruit and top it with some sautéed kale.
A bunch of people on Facebook and Twitter have been asking where to find canned jackfruit. Here in Saskatoon I’ve been able to find it at Superstore in the Asian foods aisle. Look for canned young or green jackfruit in brine. You can also find it at any Asian market usually. You can also find it on Amazon too. (FYI, that Amazon link is an affiliate link.) Hope that helps you track it down so you can make this tasty dish!
Yum yum! Enjoy.