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The #1 Secret to the Best Barbecue Jackfruit!

I have a secret. I mean, it isn’t really mine to tell, but I’ve linked the recipe. And it’s something that not a lot of people know, so hey, sharing is cool.

Have you ever made barbecue jackfruit? Before this weekend, we’d made it twice. After those first two times, we thought it was disgusting. You can buy it in the *~vegan~* section of Whole Foods and sometimes the hot bar, but we weren’t exactly fans of it.

However, this weekend, after much deliberation, we made it one more time, and it’s true: the third time really is the charm.

For reference, here’s what a jackfruit looks like before it’s put into a can from the last time Dave and I tried it.

The outside of the jackfruit isn’t spiky, but it’s definitely hard enough to keep the fruit inside protected if it were to fall from its tree.

When you cut it in half and remove the stem, you might flip each side inside out like orange halves. This would make it easier to remove the pods and seeds within.

So what’s the big secret about making this into barbecue? And how can fruit taste like pulled pork, anyway?

Let’s start off with the basics. Months ago, I purchased a couple of cans of young jackfruit in brine at the Grand Asia Market (young = unripe). By using the fruit while it’s young, the jackfruit isn’t as sweet or flavorful as it would be if it were ripe. It’s said that the flavor of Juicy Fruit gum was based on what fresh jackfruit tastes like. So imagine mixing that with barbecue sauce… yuck!

Before starting, I rinsed it in a colander to remove the brine. Then, I used this recipe from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken for 6 Ingredient Pulled Jackfruit. This recipe can be used as a base, so any spices that you might want to add or sauce you may want to use can vary. It just depends on what you like! This means that the recipe could also be used for buffalo jackfruit instead of barbecue. The resulting jackfruit can be used in tacos, sandwiches, on its own, or for whatever!

Usually with barbecue jackfruit, you would saute it in a pan at first to help break up the jackfruit. As the recipe instructs, use a potato masher to mash the jackfruit and break it up.

Now, here’s the secret that Sam taught me through the recipe. Not doing this is the mistake that everyone makes and the reason why so many people avoid barbecue jackfruit!

Bake it in the oven.

It seems SO simple, right? Think about it: you’re using the oven to dry it out like a dehydrator, as well as to crisp it up. The jackfruit holds liquid when it’s sauteed in a pan, and if you just eat it from the pan, it’s barbecue sauce-covered jackfruit. That doesn’t taste like pulled pork– no way! However, when you put it in the oven, the liquid evaporates, and you’re left with a rougher texture, similar to pulled pork. Crazy, right?!

But keep this in mind: if it isn’t as pulled pork-y as you want, leave it in the oven for five more minutes. Stir it, and if it still isn’t where you want it, leave it in for another five minutes. This will help to get the jackfruit to the texture you want.

If you’d like to see my last jackfruit-related post on our cooking mishap, click here. I lost the photos in the transition to this blog, but you can find more about that on my Instagram!

Questions for you:

Have you ever tried making barbecue jackfruit? Did you like it, or was it not your style?

What’s your trick to making a certain recipe work, when it might not have in the past?

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