BBQ jackfruit sandwiches are hearty, filling, and savory. The shredded consistency of jackfruit is similar to pulled pork. It soaks up the flavors of seasonings and barbecue sauce.
It’s a delicious way to use canned Trader Joe’s jackfruit. Great on a sandwich with your favorite toppings! It’s an easy lunch or dinner with pantry-friendly ingredients.
Few things make me happier than going to a vegan barbecue restaurant. I love getting all of those craveable smoky flavors with plant foods.
Sadly, vegan BBQ joints aren’t on every corner. And sometimes it’s just too cold outside to grill…
However, you can still enjoy the flavors & textures of barbecue at home – right in your own kitchen.
This BBQ sandwich is packed with saucy & toothsome jackfruit.
Jackfruit has wonderful bite, thanks to its innate shredded consistency. (I also like to help it out in the food processor.)
Browning it in a skillet gives it even more texture, before adding spices and your favorite barbecue sauce.
Pile it onto a warmed bun with coleslaw, pickles, and/or mustard.
It’s an easy lunch or dinner that’s sure to please.
Where can I find jackfruit?
Look for canned jackfruit at Asian markets, natural grocery stores, or Trader Joe’s. (It’s one of my favorite Trader Joe’s vegan products.)
You can also buy it online.
For this recipe you’ll need young green jackfruit that’s packed in brine or water.
As the name suggests, jackfruit is a fruit. The kind canned in water or brine isn’t ripe yet. Hence, why it’s called “young.”
Fresh or ripe jackfruit in syrup would be too sweet for this recipe. I don’t recommend it.
Can I eat all parts of canned jackfruit?
The first time you open a can of green jackfruit, it can be a little surprising that there are pods and firmer parts to the jackfruit. It’s not just the shredded stuff you see in pictures.
However, all parts of the canned jackfruit are edible.
I like to move the jackfruit to a food processor & pulse several times. That way it all gets broken up and looks uniform from one part to another.
Smaller pieces also means the jackfruit will absorb the seasonings & sauce better.
Vegan barbecue sauce
This recipe calls for vegan barbecue sauce.
You can make your own barbecue sauce in 2 minutes with pantry-friendly ingredients. (No cooking required!) Or you can use store-bought barbecue sauce.
When buying barbecue sauce, be sure to read the ingredient label. Not all types are vegan.
Make sure it doesn’t include non-vegan Worcestershire sauce. (It’s made with anchovies.)
I especially like the organic Kansas City-style barbecue sauce from Trader Joe’s. It is tangy, smoky, and a little sweet. (It’s shown above on the TJ’s display with canned jackfruit.)
To make this dish gluten-free, use a gluten-free barbecue sauce and gluten-free buns (or enjoy the jackfruit on its own without a bun). Or you could put the BBQ jackfruit inside of a halved corn cake, like an arepa.
What purpose does tahini serve in this recipe?
Tahini is a seed butter. It’s similar to peanut butter, but made with sesame seeds instead of peanuts.
My favorite tahini is Soom. It has a thinner, silkier viscosity, which makes it very spreadable. And it’s delicious.
- Green jackfruit is low in calories and protein. So it can feel a little light when it’s a main course. Tahini adds some oomph, protein, and fat, which helps with satiety.
- It also makes the jackfruit sticky, which adds to the pulled pork vibe.
- Finally, it covers up any brine flavor that might be remaining in the canned jackfruit.
If you don’t have tahini or aren’t a fan, it’s not a deal-breaker. You can add less or omit it altogether.
How to make BBQ jackfruit
Here’s what you’ll need for jackfruit pulled pork: green jackfruit, onion, garlic, barbecue sauce, tahini, spices, and a little oil.
1. Drain canned young or green jackfruit in a colander. Rinse well.
2. Move the jackfruit to a clean, dry kitchen towel.
3. Wrap the jackfruit in the towel like a Tootsie Roll. Twist it and wring it dry, until all of the water/brine is out.
4. Put the jackfruit in a food processor with an S blade. Pulse 4 or 5 times, until it’s fully broken up & shredded.
(No food processor? Just chop it with a knife. Or break it up in the skillet with a spatula.)
5. Put jackfruit in an oiled skillet. Allow it to brown.
6. Once it has gotten some color, push the jackfruit to one side of the skillet. Add a little more oil along with chopped onion & minced garlic. Sauté until fragrant and incorporate it with the jackfruit.
7. Season the jackfruit with cumin, ancho chili powder, coriander, and salt. Fully combine. Then add tahini and combine with the seasoned jackfruit.
8. Stir in barbecue sauce. If you’d like a saucier sandwich, add more to taste.
Pile jackfruit pulled pork onto warmed buns, along with your choice of toppings.
Can I make it without a food processor?
If you don’t have a food processor, that’s not an issue.
After you wring out the jackfruit in a towel, you can either give it a rough chop. Or roughly pull it apart with your fingers & place the jackfruit into the warm oiled skillet.
As you cook the jackfruit, further break it up with your spatula.
Make it your own
You can make this BBQ jackfruit your own by varying the ingredients or amounts.
- Vary the type of barbecue sauce
- Add a dash of hot sauce along with the BBQ sauce for heat
- Add a shredded carrot for texture and nutrients (Add one shredded carrot to the jackfruit after the spices)
- If you’re not a fan of tahini, reduce or omit it
- Instead of serving it on a sandwich, enjoy the BBQ jackfruit in a wrap, salad, bowl, or on top of vegan grits
What to serve with jackfruit pulled pork sandwiches
Enjoy the sandwich with any of these side dishes:
- Onion rings in air fryer or pan fried
- Fried pickles – in air fryer or pan fried
- Potato salad
- Baked french fries
- Air fryer polenta fries
- Fried zucchini – in air fryer or pan fried
- Grilled vegetable skewers
- Vegan pasta salad
- Black-eyed peas & collard greens
- Fried green tomatoes in the air fryer or beer battered
How to store leftovers & reheat
Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator in a covered container for about 4 days. Stir in more barbecue sauce before reheating if it looks a little dry.
Reheat in the microwave or in a non-stick skillet until warm.
More jackfruit recipes
Keep the jackfruit love going with any of these popular jackfruit recipes.
- Vegan French dip sandwich
- Vegan reuben jackfruit sandwich
- Vegan Philly cheesesteak
- Jackfruit carnitas tacos
(See even more enticing options in this jackfruit recipes round-up!)
BBQ jackfruit sandwiches
- 20 ounces green jackfruit canned in water or brine
- 2 teaspoons organic canola oil or your preferred oil, divided
- ½ cup chopped onions
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 Tablespoon tahini
- ¼ cup barbecue sauce plus more to taste
- 2 or 3 burger buns
- Drain canned green or young jackfruit in a colander. Rinse well with water.
- Move the jackfruit to a clean, dry kitchen towel. Dry the jackfruit with a towel, wrap it like a Tootsie roll, and fully wring it dry until all of the water/brine comes out.
- Move the dried off jackfruit to a food processor. Pulse several times until it's fully broken up and shredded. *(All parts of the canned jackfruit are edible - including any pods or firmer pieces. The food processor completely breaks those up, so that they're easy and pleasant to chew. If you don't have a food processor, just chop the jackfruit with a knife.)
- Bring a large non-stick skillet to a medium heat with one teaspoon of oil. Spread the jackfruit across the skillet. Allow it to brown for about 4 minutes, being careful only to move it once it has browned on one side.
- Move the jackfruit to one side of the skillet. Then put the remaining teaspoon of oil on the empty side of the skillet. Add the chopped onions and minced garlic. Saute for a minute or two, until fragrant. Then incorporate it with the jackfruit using a spatula.
- Now it's time to season the jackfruit. Add cumin, ancho chili powder, coriander, and salt. Fully incorporate it with the jackfruit, and cook about a minute. Then add tahini. It makes the jackfruit stickier like pulled pork, and adds protein & fat.
- Pour ¼ cup of barbecue sauce on the jackfruit mixture, and fully incorporate it. If you'd like a saucier sandwich, add more barbecue sauce to suit your tastes. Cook a minute or two longer, until the barbecue sauce is warm.