One new-to-me ingredient I kept seeing mention of in my vegan recipe research was jackfruit, and the young, unripe fruit tastes just like pulled pork when simmered in barbecue sauce. The fresh, ripe fruit can grow to up to 100 pounds and is incredibly sweet, with a smell not unlike durian. The now popular ‘meat substitute’ version is the unripe, not yet sweet fruit that has been preserved in brine. I finally had some time this weekend, tracked down cans at a Vietnamese grocer, and tried it for myself.
First, I roasted the jackfruit at 400dgF for an hour (there was a lot of it; you’d probably only need 40 to 45 minutes for 4 servings). This dried out the jackfruit, browning and crisping it in spots and giving it a “meaty” texture. While it was roasting, I put together a ketchup and vinegar-based barbecue sauce. Once the jackfruit was roasted, it was out of the oven and into the sauce for a simmer.. Then the taste test: way too tart.
Doing this the next time around, I’ll leave out the vinegar completely from the sauce; I think that was the culprit, as the jackfruit really absorbed the flavors of the sauce. The consistency was nice and saucy, the texture toothsome. With that one small tweak, this is one “meaty” sandwich I will definitely make again.
– Emily Stephenson