Simanaitis Says

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I’M A VEGETARIAN, EXCEPT for sausage. And maybe an annual celebratory filet mignon cooked black-and-blue. However, I do admire the appearance of a pulled-pork BBQ sandwich, and I’ve found this appearance can be pulled off adroitly with jackfruit.

A jackfruit tree. Illustration from one of the earliest natural history books about China, by Jesuit missionary Michal Piotr Boym, 1656.

The Jackfruit, Artocarpus heterophyllus, is a tree of the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family, native to southwest India. Its fruit has the distinction of being the largest of tree-borne fruit, some jackfruit measuring 35 in. long, with a 20-in. diameter, and weighing 120 lb.

The jackfruit’s fruit and seeds are edible. It is the national fruit of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and the official fruit of two Indian states.

Jackfruit Barbacoa is a simple recipe, once you find canned jackfruit (mine comes from Trader Joe’s), select a favorite barbecue sauce (I like Kinder’s Roasted Garlic BBQ), and gather an onion, two carrots, three cloves of garlic, and allspice, cumin, oregano, and paprika.

Suggested Technique. My Trader Joe’s Green Jackfruit is in brine, so I begin by draining and rinsing it well to remove some of the salt. Let it drain again while preparing the onion, carrots, and other stuff.

Peal and slice the onion into thin strips. Caramelize these in butter over low heat, perhaps for 15 minutes. During this time, pull apart the jackfruit chunks by hand.

Above, jackfruit drained; below, the same batch pulled.

Peel and grate the carrots, add them to the onion, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Move these to one side, add the minced garlic, and let it brown for a bit.

Ready for spicing, jackfruit, and barbecue sauce.

Mix in the spices, drained jackfruit, and barbecue sauce. Raise the heat well beyond simmer to brown the jackfruit a little. Maybe add water or broth if the mixture looks too dry. Continue intermittent watching, stirring, and pulling (this time, with a wooden spoon) for perhaps 10 minutes.

Then lower the heat, put a lid on, and let it simmer for another 15 minutes.

Jackfruit Barbacoa Options. Pulled-jackfruit sandwiches are great; cole slaw (I get mine at KFC) makes a tasty addition. Jackfruit tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, or pita sandwiches are other options.

Maybe I’ll eschew sausage after all. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2019


  1. Mark W
    January 10, 2019

    A vegetarian who eats sausage, hmm? Isn’t that kind of like a pacifist who works (part time) as an ax murderer?

  2. jlalbrecht64
    January 10, 2019

    This is a good recipe! (I’d use margarine instead of butter). I’ve been vegan going on three years, and I know a lot of people (meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans) who love Jackfruit burgers. For whatever reason, it’s not my favorite (even though I love the name!). Maybe I subconsciously hate it because I don’t want to be harvested? I’m commenting really only to add that two things most people (including me) like about Jackfruit is that it tastes so “meaty” and that you can make the burgers so juicy. That is the opposite of the stereotype of vegan burgers.

  3. Best Indian Food Blog
    April 6, 2019

    New information!

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