BBQ Pulled Jackfruit: Recipe For The Best Vegan BBQ

Vegan BBQ Pulled Jackfruit

BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Background

The first time I had vegan bbq pulled jackfruit was the first time I had truly guilt-free bbq. It sounds unbelievable that you could make anything resembling bbq pulled pork out of fruit, but you can! This fruit from South India and the rainforests of Malaysia has all of the qualities we look for in a mock-meat.

Jackfruit has been trending. As a result, it can be found in many grocery stores now such as Trader Joe’s (the brand I prefer), Whole Foods, or your local Asian grocery. When purchasing canned jackfruit, do your best to make sure you choose green jackfruit. Green jackfruit is unripe and best for savory recipes. On the other hand, yellow jackfruit, which is sweeter, has a sticky texture that is best suited for dessert recipes.

BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Walkthrough

For this vegan bbq pulled jackfruit recipe, we’ll start by (obviously) opening those cans. Inside the can, you’ll find small triangle sized pieces of fruit. Some of them may be green, or have pale circles on the wide side of the triangle; don’t worry because that is absolutely normal. It will look like pulled bbq by the time you’re done with it! When cooking jackfruit, we have one goal: get that sweet-fruit taste out of those miracle morsels! To do this, we’ll take a few steps.

Step One

Firstly, we’ll drain and rinse the jackfruit in a colander. The objective in this step is to rinse the brine off of the jackfruit pieces. Be thorough. The brine is the real culprit when it comes to mock vegan bbq that doesn’t taste quite right! If you don’t rinse the brine well, you might as well add some Dole pineapple syrup to the finished product, because that’s what it will taste like.

Step Two

The second step to making the best ever vegan bbq recipe was taught to me by wizards. We’ll use a lemon juicer (the squeezable kind) to press that awful brine out of the pieces. The process is simple.

Add two to three pieces of jackfruit to the lemon juicer at a time, until all of the jackfruit has been pressed. Pressing the jackfruit ensures the least amount of brine remains in the final product and shreds the fruit at the same time; this is the step in which the fruit begins to look like meat. Other recipes may suggest removing the seed pods and cutting off the harder, thicker exterior of the pieces. When undercooked, the seeds and pods can cause gas. The entire fruit is edible, though, and including these pieces gives the final product a varied and satisfying texture. It’s my suggestion to leave the seeds and pods in, since we’ll be cooking the jackfruit over medium-high heat for at least twenty minutes.

Step Three

In step three, we’ll add salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder to the jackfruit. Stir this very well, either with a spatula or with your hands. At this point, you can either let the jackfruit sit in the fridge for up to 24 hours, or heat up your skillet or frying pan.

Step Four

Step four is the last! Using very little oil (1-2tbsp), pan fry the jackfruit, stirring occasionally. Make sure to scrape any bits that get stuck to the pan off and back into the dish. Since we’re dealing with fruit, and there is little to no danger of food poisoning, this step is mostly about drying the jackfruit out and giving it a crisp texture, so your goal here will be to add oil if the pan dries out, but not so much oil that it rehydrates things.

When the texture is right (the harder parts of the jackfruit will fall apart quite easily under a spatula, the seed pods will easily smush, and there will be plenty of dark brown crisped parts), the jackfruit is ready to go!

Choose Your BBQ Sauce For Pulled Jackfruit

At this point, it’s time to add your barbecue sauce of choice! While store-bought barbecue sauce options are getting more expansive every day, and there are some seriously tasty and easy vegan options out there, I highly recommend making your own. This Vegan Kansas City Barbecue Sauce is easy, takes about twenty minutes, and pairs perfectly with jackfruit, due to its sweet and smoky flavor profile. When you make a DIY vegan barbecue sauce, you’re able to control how spicy it is, how sweet it is, how much garlic goes into it… and best of all: you’ll be consuming the least amount of nonessential ingredients and preservatives. Besides, no offense to Rufus Teague, but there is no comparison in flavor; homemade is always better! If you do buy a store-bought pre-made bbq sauce, make sure you choose organic. Organic bbq sauces are always made with organic sugar, which is the only sugar guaranteed to be vegan. Trader Joe’s has an assortment of organic bbq sauces that pack the flavor, but other grocery stores will have plenty of options as well.

Vegan BBQ Pulled Jackfruit (Mock Pulled Pork)

This simple bbq pulled jackfruit recipe uses a secret trick to make the best vegan bbq dish you’ll ever try.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Time (optional; see Walkthrough) 1 d
Course Main Course
Cuisine Barbecue, Mock Meats
Servings 4 people


  • Handheld Lemon juicer


Pulled Jackfruit

  • 2 cans green jackfruit
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil (for pan frying)

Vegan Kansas City Barbecue Sauce

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 6 tbsp organic brown sugar (must be organic to be vegan)
  • 6 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional; reduce or add to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch cinnamon


  • Rinse jackfruit thoroughly in a colander or strainer with cold water.
  • Two or three pieces at a time, use a handheld lemon juicer to press the liquid from the jackfruit pieces. (If you don’t have a lemon juicer, you can use your hands to do this. Go slowly and thoroughly to remove as much brine as possible.) The jackfruit will be shredded by the end of this process. Add the juiced/shredded jackfruit to a bowl.
  • Add the salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic to the jackfruit and stir well.
  • Optionally, refrigerate the jackfruit for up to 24 hours, or skip this step and go straight to the pan. (This depends on if you mind the finished product having a sweet flavor. The more time you leave it in the fridge, the more it will take on the flavors of the seasoning and the less it will taste like fruit.)
  • To make the Vegan Kansas City Barbecue sauce, combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium heat until bubbling, then reduce to simmer for twenty minutes.
  • While the BBQ sauce simmers, heat a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat, and add 1-2 tbsp olive oil. When oil is hot, add jackfruit, and stir to coat in oil.
  • Stir frequently, scraping up any pieces that get stuck to the pan and adding small amounts of oil if the oil dries out. The goal here is to crisp the jackfruit, so we don’t want to add too much moisture during this step, but we also don’t want the jackfruit to stick to the pan.
  • When parts of the pulled jackfruit have a deep brown color, you can add the Kansas City BBQ sauce a few table spoons at a time, until desired texture and taste are achieved. Serve immediately with a side of bbq sauce for a classic meal that deserves some corn bread.
Keyword Vegan Barbecue Sauce, Vegan BBQ Ideas, vegan pulled bbq, vegan pulled pork

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