This vegan alternative to a pulled pork sandwich is a great idea for lunch. While actual pulled pork takes hours of slow-roasting, this BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich can be ready in 20 minutes.
Who couldn’t use a quick and easy camping lunch? Sometimes it feels like we’ve barely finished doing the dishes from breakfast before it’s time for lunch.
That’s why we love this BBQ jackfruit sandwich. It’s super satisfying and feels like a legit lunch, but it only takes a few minutes to make.
The other great part about this recipe is depending on your ambition level, you can make much of it ahead of time at home or even use store-bought ingredients. This can save you a bunch of time at the campsite, so you can get back to relaxing!
So if you’re looking for a new lunchtime meal for your next camping trip, give this BBQ jackfruit “pulled pork” sandwich a try!
Young/green jackfruit: We get our canned jackfruit from Trader Joe’s, but it can also be found in the Asian section of many grocery stores. The important thing is to check to make sure it’s not sweetened.
Buns: While largely a matter of personal preference, the bun is a critical component of any sandwich. Opt for buns that aren’t too large and bready lest they steal the spotlight from the BBQ jackfruit.
BBQ sauce: If you have a favorite store-bought BBQ sauce, this is a great place to use it (we love Trader Joe’s Carolina Gold). But if you want to make your own, we’ve included our own super-simple BBQ that uses ingredients that most people already have in their refrigerator
Slaw: The jackfruit has a soft and chewy texture, which can be nicely contrasted with crisp, cool slaw. We recommend making your slaw ahead of time at home and storing it in a cooler (or pick up pre-made slaw).
[Optional] Pickle: Don’t want to make a slaw, but still want that texture contrast? Consider slicing up a pickle. It’ll have the same cool, bright, punch as a slaw, and doesn’t require any prep work.
Can Opener: While many cans have pull-top lids, every can of jackfruit we’ve ever seen NEEDS a can opener. So when you’re going through your camp kitchen checklist, don’t forget to pack one!
Cast Iron Skillet: Whenever we’re doing a recipe that requires a really hot skillet, we reach for our cast iron. Our Lodge 10” skillet is perfect for this application.
Lodge Pot Scraper: BBQ sauce usually has some sugars in it, which can make cleaning up a little tricky. We absolutely love these pot scrapers for cleaning up our cast iron. Even burnt and caked-on areas are no match for this rigid scraper.
Tips and tricks for cooking BBQ jackfruit
Dry the jackfruit: Jackfruit comes packed in a brine, so it’s very wet right out of the can. But you want it to be as dry as possible before putting it in the skillet. The drier you can get it, the better it will crisp up in the pan. So pat it off with a paper towel or two to remove as much excess moisture as possible.
Trim fibrous ends: Often you’ll find tough fibrous parts on some of the jackfruit pieces. So as you’re drying everything off, if you see any tough bits, just cut them off and discard them.
Use a high-smoke point neutral cooking oil: You’ll be cooking over fairly high heat, so you want a high smoke point cooking oil like grapeseed or sunflower oil.
Start hot, reduce to simmer: The best way to give jackfruit a convincing pulled pork texture is to develop some brown crispy bits. Using high-smoke point cooking oil, heat up a cast-iron skillet on your camping stove over medium-high heat and then pan-fry the jackfruit in a single layer. Once it starts to pick up some color, break it apart and add the onions. Cook for a little longer, then reduce the heat and add the BBQ sauce.
BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches
- 20 oz can green jackfruit, drained and shredded
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 or 2 tablespoons vinegar-based hot sauce, like Crystal or Tabasco
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 2 buns
- Shredded cabbage or store-bought slaw
- Fresh cilantro
- At home, combine all the BBQ sauce ingredients in a small sealable container and pack it in your cooler.
- In camp, drain the jackfruit and using clean hands, shred the pieces, removing any tough bits. Dice the onion.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the jackfruit and onion. Sauté until it begins to turn golden, then add ½ teaspoon salt. Cook until the jackfruit begins to brown on the edges, then add the BBQ sauce to the skillet and toss to coat.
- To assemble, divide the jackfruit filling between the two sandwich buns, then top with the slaw and cilantro.