These BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches are the ultimate party food. They're easy to make ahead and have wonderful meaty texture and spicy/smoky flavor.
This BBQ jackfruit pulled pork recipe has been a long time coming. Over the last couple of years, I’ve gotten SO many requests for jackfruit recipes. It took me a little time to get this one just right, but here we are! These guys are meaty, juicy, smoky, a little spicy… and a total mess to eat, but isn’t that what saucy sandwiches are all about?
If you’ve never cooked with jackfruit before, it’s a funny-looking fruit that most commonly grows in Africa, Asia, and South America. Though I’ve never had ripe jackfruit, it’s said to have a sweet flavor akin to other tropical fruits like pineapple and mango. Read more about it in this post!
Around here, jackfruit is becoming easier to find in the canned section of grocery stores (I got mine at Trader Joe’s). The canned fruit is green, or unripe, so it doesn’t really have much flavor (it’s certainly not sweet and fruity). When you pull apart the pieces, it has the texture of shredded meat, so it’s a perfect meat substitute in a vegan BBQ sandwich!
BBQ Jackfruit Recipe Ingredients
Like I said, canned jackfruit’s texture certainly feels meaty, but it’s low on flavor. That means the sauce you put with it really has to count. I’ve had so many pulled jackfruit recipes at restaurants where the sauce was way too sweet, so my sauce here is on the smoky/spicy side, packed with flavor from chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, smoked paprika, and cumin.
I sauté the jackfruit with an almost-caramelized onion to deepen the flavor even more. Then, they simmer in the sauce for about 20 minutes to give the flavors a chance to develop.
Once you’ve cooked the vegan jackfruit pulled pork, you can eat it right away or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. It reheats perfectly, so this is a great recipe to make ahead for entertaining.
BBQ Jackfruit Serving Suggestions
The bbq jackfruit tastes great on its own, but to make it into a meal, I pile it onto homemade hamburger buns with a crisp cabbage slaw. It’s super quick to make – just toss together thinly shredded cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Top it onto the jackfruit pulled pork with bread & butter pickles, dill pickles, or pickled red onions and whatever other fixings you like!
Round out the meal with sweet potato fries or air fryer French fries and chipotle sauce for dipping. The BBQ jackfruit sandwiches would also be fantastic with one of these salad recipes:
- Best Broccoli Salad
- Cucumber Salad
- Creamy Coleslaw
- Easy Macaroni Salad
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Watermelon Salad with Feta
For more salad ideas, check out this post!
Oh, and don’t forget extra BBQ sauce on the side for serving – so juicy!
More Favorite Jackfruit Recipes
If you love these bbq jackfruit sandwiches, try one of these fun jackfruit recipes next:
Then, for more vegan recipes, check out this post!
BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich
- 2 chipotle peppers + 2 tablespoons of sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 (20-ounce) can un-ripe jackfruit, drained
- ½ cup water
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- ½ tablespoon lime juice
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 slider buns or 6 hamburger buns
- Desired fixings: pickles, mustard, serrano peppers, etc.
- Make the BBQ sauce: In a food processor, blend the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, mustard, paprika, cumin, and a few grinds of pepper until smooth. Set aside.
- Prepare the jackfruit by pulling shredding the pieces with your hands (see photo), discarding any harder pieces of the core. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil to medium heat. Add the sliced onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 8 to 10 minutes, turning down the heat as necessary. Next, add the shredded jackfruit and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. If necessary, add a splash of water to keep it from sticking to the pan. Stir in the 1/2 cup water and half of the BBQ sauce. Turn the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and stir in half of the remaining BBQ sauce, reserving the rest for serving.
- Make the slaw: In a medium-large bowl, combine the cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and pinches of salt and pepper.
- Serve the sliders with the jackfruit, the remaining BBQ sauce, the slaw, and desired fixings.
Seriously, SOOOO GOOD!!! My husband and I both loved this recipe!!!
So glad it was a hit!
Wowzers, delicious but super spicy! Any tips to mellow the harsh on this?
For now, you could add a little more ketchup and/or vinegar to mellow the heat. Next time, I’d start with just 1 chipotle pepper and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce and add more to taste. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!
This was amazing. A bit spicy, but coleslaw made it worth it. Will make this again.
Really love it!
I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Looking forward to making this. I hoped to make a double batch and freeze – do you think this will hold up well in the freezer? Thanks!
Yep, I think it’ll freeze well.
Hi, can I substitute the: 2 chipotle peppers + 2 tablespoons of sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce for 4 tablespoons of chipotle paste?
chipotles in adobe are not easily accessible here.
Hi Madi, chipotle paste would work great! I’d start with 2 tablespoons and add more if you want it spicier.
This.was.amazing. I sautéed the jackfruit with some diced red onion I needed to use up, garnished with bread & butter pickles, and built on brioche buns. Yes, the sauce was a bit spicy, but I topped the sandwich with a creamy coleslaw I already had and it really balanced the flavor. I cannot wait to make this recipe again and experiment with different types of garnishes.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
What part of the jackfruit is being used for this recipe? It doesn’t look like the seed pods.
Hi Irene, the seed pods are fine, I just remove any tough pieces of the core.
Way too spicy for this family. I would try again, but would have to totally rethink the BBQ sauce. It was our first time cooking with jackfruit, though, and that part was good . Appreciate a new vegetarian option to try.
Yum! Today I put the bbq sauce and a wee bit of the jackfruit mixture on crispy fried tofu in a bun with lettuce, pickles and mustard. It was amazing!
Thanks for the recipe! You have so many good vegan food ideas!
My bbq sauce turned out soooo spicy! When I make this again I’m going to use only one chipotle pepper. Still good enough to make again, was just too spicy the first time haha!
Tried this over the weekend and have to say this recipe blew me away – I was skeptical and can’t believe how good the jackfruit was. Loved the simplicity of the bbq sauce and the acidity of the slaw with it. Thanks for the recipe!
I can only say with mouthwatering honesty that this is the most amazing Jackfruit pulled bbq recipe to enjoy hands down.
It really is so delicious and I am so grateful to know about it.
Heading along the vegan trail of life has shown me that your choice of protein still comes down to the wonderful seasoning that is folded into it.
Thank you for this yummy recipe !!!!