Hello saucy, meaty-yet-meatless BBQ sandwich, and welcome to the fabulous world of vegetarian dinner ideas…you are more than welcome.
It’s about time that vegetarians (and vegans) have more to eat at a barbeque than a side dish. If you’re new to this meatless world, we’re exploring how to cook with jackfruit in a variety of ways to bring a meat-like texture to meatless recipes.
Now, it’s time to debut in these deliciously tender, hearty sammies featuring the shredded meat substitute. They’re ready in just 15 minutes and are bursting with flavor and of course, all the sauce.
What You’ll Need
The ingredients for a delicious jackfruit bbq sandwich are pretty straightforward, as long as your spice cabinet is stocked. Never fear though, even if you’re missing a spice or two, you’ll be able to adjust.
Be sure to see the recipe card below for all the ingredient details.
This is a canned jackfruit recipe; you do not want to use fresh. Read all about jackfruit here for more information.
In short, you will need a can of young (green) jackfruit, in brine or water. The pieces of this fruit, when young and green, have a mild flavor that absorbs whatever it’s cooked in.
That means, using it in this sandwich recipe absorbs all of the smoky, spicy, slightly sweet flavors for a delicious sandwich!
The pieces shred apart into a texture that really resembles shredded meat, similar to what pulled pork would be. It has stringy bits that are hearty and substantial. It’s a little less chewy than a meat version, but every bit delicious!
Spices & Sauce
- Spices: as I said, it’s kind of a long list of spices from your pantry, but we’re going for top-notch flavor here:
- Garlic and Onion Powder
- Chili Powder
- Cayenne Pepper
- Mustard Powder
- Smoked Paprika
- Black Pepper and Salt
- Brown Sugar: balances out the acid and heat, so don’t skip it.
- Butter: to help crisp up the jackfruit pieces. If you want to make this vegan, go ahead and use olive oil instead.
- BBQ Sauce: store-bought or homemade BBQ sauce works just fine in this recipe. It’s all about the flavor you love the best!
How to Make Pulled Pork with Jackfruit
This jackfruit pulled pork recipe is a top-notch vegetarian sandwich idea. The process is seriously so easy and in just 3 simple steps, you’ll have sandwiches to devour in no time!
It’s as easy as mixing, sauteing, and assembling!
First things first, mix the spices. It helps to pre-mix them in a bowl so that each spice fully coats the shredded jackfruit when you toss them all together.
How to Shred Jackfruit
Next, it’s time to shred the canned jackfruit. I like to shred the jackfruit before we cook it so all the shreds are coated with spices.
Before shredding, drain and rinse the can of jackfruit. It will be in chunks, like this:
There are two parts to the jackfruit chunks: a thicker base (usually the smaller end of the “triangle”) and the top part that easily shreds. You will likely find a few large seeds, too. It’s all edible!
Remove the thick base of each chunk, and peel apart the shredded top. Some recommend saving the seeds and base part to finely chop and add back in later. I definitely take the lazy approach and simply break apart the base in my hand, and leave the seeds as they are.
Shortcut: mix the spices in a large bowl, then place the shredded jackfruit pieces in it as you go.
Toss the shredded jackfruit with the spices until it’s completely coated. Go ahead and use your clean hands – it’s easiest.
How to Cook Jackfruit
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
Melt the butter (or oil for a vegan option) and once it’s hot, spread the spiced jackfruit mixture in an even layer. Let the jackfruit sit for about 5 minutes as it crisps up, creating that pork-like texture.
Then, take a spatula and flip and/or stir the jackfruit around, spreading it again in another even layer, and let the rest of it crisp up slightly.
Because canned jackfruit is already tender and “cooked”, we are essentially just heating it up and getting some crispy bits to enjoy, while the flavors meld together.
Certain brands of canned jackfruit can be softer than others. Keep this in mind if yours is extra soft, as you may want to cook a minute or two less.
Once it’s hot, crisp, and ready to enjoy, toss the mixture with your favorite BBQ sauce. Might I suggest a Bourbon BBQ sauce?
Assemble that Sandwich!
Now that the filling is made, it’s time to assemble the sandwiches! I recommend pairing BBQ jackfruit with a creamy, tangy red cabbage coleslaw to balance out the spicy kick in the filling. Avocados are also great for this!
I also love adding some thick pickles to the sandwich. Pickled onions, jalapenos, or pepperoncini would also be delicious.
With any BBQ sandwich, definitely add another spread of BBQ sauce for the best results, so it’s extra saucy.
Looking to add to this filling? It’s super easy to do if you have a little extra time, or if you just want an added boost of protein.
- Saute thinly sliced onions so they caramelize before adding jackfruit to the skillet. You can also add garlic!
- Smash in some chickpeas or white beans for added protein. While jackfruit has a lot of health benefits and the texture of meat, it is lacking in protein.
- Make it spicier – or less spicy – by adjusting the cayenne pepper and chili powder.
What to Serve with BBQ Sandwiches
Oh, the possibilities are endless when it comes to potluck-style meals!
You know there’s got to be a salad-not-salad of some sort, and some kind of no-bake dessert bar, right?! Or is that only in the Midwest…??
Regardless of where you are, here are some sides that work well for parties and BBQs, or for an easy weeknight dinner, too.
- Broccoli Salad
- Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
- Herb and Leek Potato Salad
- Skillet Creamed Corn
- Vegetarian Baked Beans
- White Wine Mac and Cheese
- Avocado and Green Bean Salad
- Grilled Onions in Foil
- Roasted Broccolini
- Instant Pot Steamed Carrots
FAQs and Recipe Tips
Because we don’t really have to cook anything through and are instead just heating it, you could do so in the slow cooker. You likely won’t get quite as crispy bits though. Mix the spiced jackfruit with the BBQ sauce and heat.
Store any leftover filling in its own airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave and then top with extra bbq sauce to keep it moist when you serve it.
Yes, it’s easy to prepare the filling ahead of time. Do note that some varieties of canned jackfruit can become less structured upon reheating.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe 15 Minute Vegetarian BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ⅛- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
- ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- Fresh black pepper, a few grinds
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 20-ounce cans young green jackfruit, in brine or water, NOT syrup
- 2 Tablespoons butter, or olive oil
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce, more for serving
- Stir brown sugar and spices together in a large bowl.2 Tablespoons brown sugar, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon chili powder, ⅛- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ¼ teaspoon mustard powder, ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika, ¼ teaspoon dried oregano, Fresh black pepper, 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit, then shred each piece in your hand, breaking up the bases as needed. Toss the jackfruit shreds and pieces (including seeds) with the spice mixture until completely coated.2 20-ounce cans young green jackfruit
- Melt the butter or oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, spread jackfruit in an even layer and let it cook for 5 minutes to crisp up; don't stir it to encourage browning. Then, stir and let it cook again for 4-5 more minutes until heated through and crisp.2 Tablespoons butter
- Remove from heat and toss with the BBQ sauce. Serve on buns with extra sauce, coleslaw, and pickles, as desired.
- Additional topping options: avocado, pickled onions, banana peppers, or raw onion.
- Add smashed chickpeas or white beans for added protein.
- Sautee thinly sliced onion before adding the jackfruit mixture for extra onion flavor.