When I first heard that jackfruit can imitate the texture of shredded meat classically prepared as barbecue, I could hardly believe it. I was challenged by the prospect. I thought, how can a soft, canned fruit make this transition?
I researched recipes and the overall consensus seemed to be that the fruit must be cooked down with a sauce or flavorings in order to make it break apart and shred. I tried this technique and was sorely disappointed. The jackfruit did not have the texture I was looking for. Instead, it was like eating a mouthful of soft, wet dishrags.
I put on my thinking cap and came to the conclusion that in order to get that meaty, pulled texture, the fruit must be relieved of much of its moisture and the sauce applied in finishing. Here’s my technique. It’s quick, easy and foolproof.
2 cans young green jackfruit in *brine
Barbecue sauce, to taste (bottled or homemade, your choice)
1 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Fabricate! Drain the jackfruit and cut out the hard, triangular core pieces (similar to pineapple) then tear the fruit into shreds with your fingers.
- Marinate! With a paper towel, press out as much moisture as possible and then apply the liquid smoke, if using and 2 teaspoons of barbecue sauce, for just a touch of flavor. Toss the fruit to coat.
- Bake on dry parchment-lined sheet tray (no oil) for 20-25 minutes, stirring at around the 10 minute mark, until the edges are browned and the fruit has a dried appearance.
- Finish! Then and only then, apply the sauce of your choice and serve immediately.
Yield: 2 cups
Notes: In addition to traditional barbecue presentation, pulled jack fruit goes well in Mexican dishes like tacos, quesadillas and nachos.
*Do not use the jackfruit in syrup, only in brine. There is a big difference.