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Many online BBQ jackfruit recipes are prepared in a skillet or oven. But this recipe is smoked, giving it the true flavors of barbecue. It’s a vegetarian alternative to pulled pork that even carnivores will enjoy.
Smoked Jackfruit Ingredients
This is a simple recipe, because it only requires three ingredients.
What is Jackfruit
Jackfruit is a tropical fruit that grows on trees in South Africa and Asia. Fresh, whole jack fruit is huge. Its size and weight are similar to a watermelon. It has a hard prickly, green outer rind and sweet yellow flesh.
My family usually uses jackfruit to make Turon, which is a Filipino egg roll with bananas and jackfruit. But today, we’re using jackfruit for a savory dish.
Because of its naturally meaty texture, jackfruit is often used as a plant-based substitute for pork and chicken dishes.
For this recipe, you don’t have to find a fresh jackfruit. Instead, we’re going to use young canned jackfruit in brine.
The brine usually contains water, salt and lime juice. You can rinse the jackfruit if you want to help reduce the sodium level, but personally, I think the brine adds to the robust flavor. Instead, I just drain the juice from the can.
How to Season Jackfruit
The jackfruit comes in the can in large chunks. You could season the chunks while they’re whole, but I prefer to break the pieces apart.
There are two advantages to breaking the fruit apart before smoking it. First, it’s much easier to pull the fruit into pieces while it’s cool. If you wait to pull it after it’s cooked, you’ll need to wear gloves or use forks.
The second and most important reason to pull the fruit apart before smoking it is because you can get seasoning on every piece and each strand will absorb more smoke.
Press the fruit chunks together with your fingers to separate the meat and place them in a 13 x 9 pan. Then, toss them with barbecue rub. You’ll need 2 teaspoons of rub for every 14-ounce can of young jackfruit.
How to Smoke BBQ Jackfruit
Heat your smoker or pellet grill to 250F degrees, using apple wood, and place the pan of seasoned jackfruit into the smoker over indirect heat.
After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the smoker and toss the fruit. This will help the smoke get to all of the pieces. Then, let the fruit continue to smoke for another 30 minutes.
For the final step, add your favorite barbecue sauce to the pan and stir to combine. Return the pan to the smoker and smoke for 15-20 more minutes.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Jackfruit is used in many Asian dishes, so you can almost always find it at an Asian market. Because it’s a common substitute for meat, you can also find it at Natural Grocers or Whole Foods. It’s also available on Amazon.
Jackfruit is quite nutritious. A half cup serving has 2 grams of protein and 7 grams of dietary fiber. It’s only 40 calories and has zero fat. It’s rich in calcium, iron and potassium, but it is a little high in sodium, because of the brine.
Canned young jackfruit has a completely neutral flavor. Other than the slightly salty brine that it’s canned in, there really isn’t much flavor. This is great, because that means it can absorb whatever flavors you introduce to it. Jackfruit also has a really pleasant texture similar to mushrooms with less umami. One shredded, it’s similar to pulled chicken or pork, but is more firm.
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Smoked BBQ Jackfruit
- 4 cans young jackfruit in brine, 14-oz each
- 2 tbsp Christie Vanover's Pork Rub
- 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce, divided
- Prepare Jackfruit: Remove the fruit from the cans and discard the juice. Pull the pieces apart into strips and place in a 13 x 9 pan.
- Season: Toss the pulled fruit with the pork rub.
- Heat Grill: Heat your grill or smoker to 250F degrees with apple wood and setup an indirect heat zone.
- Smoke: Place the pan on the smoker. Cook for 30 minutes. Toss. Cook for 30 more minutes.
- Sauce: Remove the pan from the smoker and stir in one cup of barbecue sauce. Return to the smoker and cook for 15-20 more minutes.
- Serve: Toss and serve on buns with the extra sauce and pickles. Or serve it all by itself.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.