Smoky Pulled Jackfruit


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.

Pulled Jackfruit

2 cans young green jackfruit in *brine

Barbecue sauce, to taste (bottled or homemade, your choice)

1 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Fabricate! Drain the jackfruit and cut out the hard, triangular core pieces (similar to pineapple) then tear the fruit into shreds with your fingers.IMG_3697.jpg
  3. 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.IMG_3701.jpg
  4. 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.IMG_3706.jpg
  5. Finish! Then and only then, apply the sauce of your choice and serve immediately.img_3711

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.



    1. We’ve tried it both with BBQ sauce and also with a more Mexican-flavored enchilada sauce. The liquid smoke did well for both!! My boys say it reminded them of when I used to grill chicken, then shred the chicken in an entree. Unfortunately, I forgot to cut out the core the first time…it is DEFINITELY required as it holds a lot of the moisture (aka brine ‘pickle’). But it still came out great.

    1. The flavor of jackfruit is subtle. It takes on the seasoning or sauce you use with it. It lends itself particularly well to a smoky barbecue flavor. The drier you can get the jackfruit the better–but the texture is not chewy like meat, just shredded like meat.

  1. Now this is one way to use jackfruit! There’s incidentally a jackfruit tree growing right next to our house, and Dad often cooks the unripe fruits in coconut milk with shrimp or dried fish, depending on what is available.