Whether you're a vegetarian or a carnivore, I promise you'll be pleasantly surprised by this smoked BBQ jackfruit recipe.
5 from 1 vote
blue pan with two forks and smoked BBQ jackfruit.

By Christie Vanover | Published July 12, 2022 | Last Updated July 12, 2022

Home | Recipes | Smoked BBQ Jackfruit

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.

blue pan with two forks and smoked BBQ jackfruit.

Smoked Jackfruit Ingredients

This is a simple recipe, because it only requires three ingredients.

BBQ Jackfruit ingredients: BBQ rub, BBQ sauce, canned jackfruit
  • Canned Jackfruit: Look for young jackfruit that’s canned in water or a salt brine.
  • BBQ Rub: My pork rub works great with this recipe; however, it does contain honey granules, so if you don’t eat animal byproducts, I recommend you make your own blend with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, chili powder and brown sugar.
  • BBQ Sauce: Many BBQ sauces contain honey, so if that doesn’t meet your dietary preferences, pick a BBQ sauce that does.
bottles of BBQ rubs on black background

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.

jackfruit chunk and shredded jackfruit

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.

Pulled jackfruit seasoned with BBQ rub in a pan.

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.

Tossing smoked jackfruit with a large spoon.

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.

smoked jackfruit with BBQ sauce on smoker.

GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips

  • Use canned young jackfruit packed in a brine
  • Pull the fruit apart before seasoning and smoking for the best flavor
  • Finish smoking with your favorite BBQ sauce

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy canned jackfruit?

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.

Is jackfruit nutritious?

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.

What does jackfruit taste like?

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.

How to Serve BBQ Jackfruit

Once your BBQ jackfruit is smoked and sauced, you can serve it just like pulled pork or pulled turkey. Pile it on a bun to make a BBQ jackfruit sandwich, wrap it in a tortilla to make soft tacos, use it as a pizza topping or layer it on some nachos.

Smoked bbq jackfruit piled on a brioche bun with BBQ sauce and pickles.

Want even more great grilling recipes? Subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok for my latest grilling adventures. If you make this recipe, I’d love for your to leave a comment and rating below. Thanks.

blue pan with two forks and smoked BBQ jackfruit.

Smoked BBQ Jackfruit

Whether you're a vegetarian or a carnivore, I promise you'll be pleasantly surprised by this smoked BBQ jackfruit recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

This recipe can be reduced or increased. Use 2 teaspoons of rub and 1/4 cup of sauce for every 14-ounce can of jackfruit. Plus extra sauce for serving. 
You may want to rinse the jackfruit to remove extra sodium from the brine. If you don’t rinse it, the dish will be a little saltier. 
Pulling the fruit before you smoke it, ensures every strand is seasoned and smoky. 
If you want to make this a vegan dish, choose a barbecue rub and sauce that doesn’t include honey. If making sandwiches, choose vegan-friendly buns. 
Feel free to add more sauce, if you like it extra saucy. 

Nutrition

Calories: 155kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 1gFat: 0.4gSaturated Fat: 0.04gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.04gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.03gSodium: 307mgPotassium: 179mgFiber: 1gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 87IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 67mgIron: 1mg
Share Tweet
Brag About Your BBQShare it on Instagram using #GirlsCanGrill