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.
I made this for my immediate family a few weeks ago and it is delicious (minus the chipotle peppers since I don’t do hot/spicy very well).Several family members called this morning and wanted to drop by, so I find myself in need of a good impromptu dinner… and this was the one that came to mind! I’m starting it on the stove and going to finish it in the crock-pot on low for easy serving tonight.
I’m so glad it was a hit!
I’ve been vegan for a long time, but never cooked with jackfruit. Also I’ve never had pulled pork, so I was worried I’d be out of my element with this recipe. It’s great! My meat eating hubby loved it too. Spicy Sauce is so yum! It’s been saved to my recipe folder.
yay! I’m so glad you both loved it!
I would love to try this recipe! We have a local store that has fresh Jackfruit. How would I use that in this recipe?
Hi Tracey, this recipe requires canned jackfruit, not fresh (fresh would be too sweet)… I find it at Trader Joes or at asian markets. Hope that helps!
Hi Ellie, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one.
Hello, I want to ask a question regarding this recipe with Jackfruit. It list canned Jackfruit as one of the ingredients. Can I use fresh Jackfruit and if so how do I prepare it for the BBQ Jackfruits Sandwiches?
Hi Arleen, this recipe requires canned Jackfruit, fresh Jackfruit won’t work in this case.
Our new favorite recipe!! That was extremely tasty! Thank you 🙂
Hi Amalia, I haven’t used fresh jackfruit (it’s not available where I live), so I’m not sure!
I recently stumbled upon your site and am loving your recipes. I’m excited to try your version of jackfruit sandwiches.
I do want to disagree with you about the jackfruit not having much flavor. Fresh, ripe jackfruit is SUPER sweet and flavorful. The canned jackfruit for this recipe is green/unripe and it is a completely different experience than having it fresh, which I would recommend to anyone that can get their hands on it. Be well!
Hi Kristin, thanks for the info! Yes, I was referring to the canned type (the only kind that’s widely available in the US), but I’ll be more specific next time. And I’ll have to seek out a fresh Jackfruit 🙂
If you have the time, put all the ingredients in a slow cooker. Add water to cover all the ingredients. Cook overnight on low. Really tenderizes the jackfruit (especially the hard insides), plus its a no-brainer for work lunches the following day. You can even shred the jackfruit even more when its cool for a pulled pork-like sandwich.
ALL the ingredients? The BBQ sauce ingredients & jackfruit ingredients or just the jackfruit ingredients?
This recipe is good for the crock pot, however, caramelizing the onions and adding the jackfruit for the time called for in the recipe TRULY adds fantastic flavor that you will not get by simply throwing all the ingredients into the crock pot to let it stew. Make the BBQ sauce separately and put ingredients into the crock pot toward the end of step 2… so when it calls for adding the water and BBQ sauce to the pan of jack fruit and onions, this is where you can move it all to the crock pot on low setting. Save the slaw and pickles, etc, for when you put the sandwiches together.
Hi Elisa, thank you for the tips!
Hi, i tried the recipe this weekend. One of the best vegan recipe I’ve found till now. Thanks for posting.
This was such a delicious dish! Like every recipe of yours that I’ve tried, this was spot on. Added some goat’s milk cheddar in addition to pickles to top. Thank you Jeanine!
Hi Katie! I’m so glad you loved it!!
Super fan and fellow taco lover here – I made your BBQ jackfruit tacos from your recipe and they were SO good. I use siete tacos (coconut flour ones) and topped with kite hill jalepeno flavor cream cheese, roasted poblano peppers and cilantro of course!
I don’t think you’ve made one single recipe that’s not amazing!
Hi Catherine! Yay, I’m so happy you’re loving the recipes! Thanks for coming back to comment 🙂 xoxo
That looks so delicious, my husband wanna thanks for this. I cooked these awesome sandwich and they just love them.
I like to use canned jack fruit in different meals but find that Trader Joe’s brand, while well priced, is mostly core pieces, so for recipes needing shreds I think the tins from Korean or Asian stores are better. Looking forward to the smoky sauce since we are not fans of sweet BBQ sauce!
Thanks for the tip! I’ll look for jackfruit at my asian market next time. I didn’t have a problem with the TJ’s can.
Well, aren’t these the most stunning sandwiches ever!
These look fantastic!!
Rebecca | http://www.peppermintdolly.com
So it looks like you use the core part of jackfruit as well?
I’ve used other recipes that says not to use, and that feels like waste, but the “core” part doesn’t look like it shreds so easily.
I have used all of the fruit gently shredding in food processor for tuna salad substitute.
Could you share the actual process of how you shred for the barbecue sandwiches?
Thank you for all you do!
Hi Beth Ann, I took out a few of the core pieces that were especially hard (I’ll put that in the notes, thanks for pointing that out), but not much. And I just broke it apart loosely with my hands like it shows in the photo. I think the food processor would shred it too much, you still want some texture to it. Hope that helps!
Thanks so much dear! 😊
So excited for this! I put it in my meal planner!!
I agree with you-so many BBQ sauces are way too sweet with tons of added sugar! These look amazing 🙂
I’ve been wanting this recipe! Thanks so much for sharing. I recently purchased a fresh jackfruit thinking I could us it for these sandwiches…. big fail, lol. I’ll look for the can at TJ’s.