Vegan Jackfruit BBQ Sandwich

By Alexandra Caspero on June 8, 2022
The best vegan BBQ sandwich, made with jackfruit!
Makes 8 sandwiches

If you haven’t tried jackfruit as a pulled pork alternative before, you’ve gotta try this recipe for Jackfruit BBQ Sandwiches. Vegan recipe and easily gluten-free.

Now that you’ve learned how to cook jackfruit, it’s time to make an epic jackfruit BBQ sandwich! We love these meaty pulled jackfruit style sandwiches with plenty of BBQ sauce and a grilled pineapple on top, but they are also great with coleslaw and pickles. 

Growing up in Virginia, I ate a lot of pulled pork sandwiches. A staple for many neighborhood gatherings, I wanted my jackfruit version to be able to stand up to my childhood memories. Pulled jackfruit has a very similar texture to pork and like tofu, it takes on whatever flavor you add to it! 

In this case, we’re making vegan jackfruit BBQ sandwiches using your favorite jarred BBQ sauce. While you can make your own, I’m relying on store-bought sauce for ease of preparation. 

Here’s how to make it.

Jackfruit BBQ for Sandwiches

Ingredients for Vegan BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches

  • Canned young green jackfruit in water or brine (not in syrup). Sweet frozen jackfruit or jackfruit canned in syrup is too sweet for this recipe and will not work. 
  • Onion. Either white or yellow onion. I don’t care for the taste of cooked red onion, but you can use that if you’d like.  
  • Olive oil
  • Seasonings like paprika, chili powder, garlic powder
  • BBQ sauce of choice. I like a thick BBQ sauce, but any BBQ sauce of choice will work. 
  • Buns
  • Toppings of choice: we love grilled pineapple and slaw, but any preferred topping will work
how to make jackfruit

Prepping Your Jackfruit for BBQ Sandwiches 

In my how to cook jackfruit post, I show you exactly how I prep jackfruit for use in pulled BBQ sandwiches like this one. If you aren’t sure how to prepare canned jackfruit, then you’ll want to head there first for step by step directions. 

While you don’t have to prep the canned jackfruit before making this recipe, I do find that it makes for a better texture without any tinned taste that canned products can sometimes have. 

The beauty of my how to cook jackfruit page is that I tend to prep 7-8 cans at once and then freeze the jackfruit for making sandwiches or jackfruit tacos later. If you’ve already done this, then remove the jackfruit from the freezer and let thaw completely. 

If you are using jackfruit straight from the can, then you’ll want to drain and rinse well before using. 

how to prepare jackfruit

How to Slice Jackfruit 

To create a shredded appearance, you’ll need to slice the drained and rinsed jackfruit from end to end to create strips. 

If you’ve boiled it first as I recommend doing in my how to cook jackfruit post, then the jackfruit will already be shredded as it cooks down in the water. 

For a more finely shredded jackfruit appearance, I recommend using a potato masher while the jackfruit cooks on the stove. You can also use your hands to pull the jackfruit apart after it’s drained and rinsed. 

how to make jackfruit

How to Make the Vegan BBQ Jackfruit for Sandwiches

  1. Sauté the onion

    To start, sauté an onion in a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until the onion is fairly soft and translucent. 

  2. Add the jackfruit

    Next, add in the jackfruit and cook another minute or two. From here, add in the BBQ seasonings. This technique is also highly adaptable, you can add in any seasoning you want depending on how you want to flavor the jackfruit. To create the BBQ profile, I’m using a combination of smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder and cumin. 

  3. Stir in the BBQ Sauce

    Add in BBQ sauce of choice and cook until the mixture is very well-coated and thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring often. You’ll likely need more sauce than you think, I typically use 3/4 of a regular jar — but I also like things pretty saucy! As the jackfruit is pretty flavorless, your sauce is providing most of the flavor so make sure to choose a sauce you like!

  4. Assemble the sandwich

    Pile the jackfruit onto a bun with toppings of choice. This BBQ jackfruit recipe is similar to pulled BBQ pork, so I make it like I would a pulled pork sandwich.

BBQ jackfruit for sandwiches

Ingredients for the Vegan Slaw 

I really like a grilled pineapple on top of the BBQ jackfruit, but my husband won’t even consider a jackfruit BBQ sandwich without slaw on top. 

To make an easy vegan slaw, you’ll need the following: 

  • 4 cups shredded cabbage (or one bag, that’s usually what I do for ease)
  •  1 shredded carrot, if desired. I like the crunch of carrots in my slaw but you can omit for ease. 
  •  1/2-1 teaspoon maple syrup. I like my slaw to have a slight sweet and tangy bite, so I add in a pinch of maple syrup. 
  •  2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  •  ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
  •  pinch of salt and pepper to taste

To make the vegan slaw, stir all of the ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined and season to taste with salt and pepper, as desired. 

Assembling the Sandwich 

You likely don’t need directions for how to make a pulled jackfruit sandwich, but this is how I do it. 

Toast the bun, then pile high with the cooked BBQ jackfruit and additional sauce. Top with your toppings of choice; slaw, grilled pineapple, pickles, anything that you like on your BBQ sandwich. 

Eat! You are going to love this sandwich, it’s so incredibly good. 

how to prepare jackfruit

What goes well with BBQ jackfruit?

I consider a pulled BBQ sandwich classic picnic fare and therefore tend to pair it with similar foods.

FAQs for BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches

How to store leftovers


Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge. Rewarm in a skillet or the microwave before using. 

Does jackfruit taste like pulled pork? 


While the texture of jackfruit is very similar to pork, and while you can season it the same way, I don’t think it’s helpful to make claims that it will taste the exact same as pulled pork. All that said, if you like the taste of BBQ pork then you will like this sandwich. 

Is jackfruit healthy? 


Healthy is always a relative term, and should be ‘compared to what?’ Compared to pork, jackfruit is very lean and pork is very fatty. As a dietitian, that’s a benefit for people who like the taste of jackfruit and want a healthier option. It is lower in protein than other plant-based meat alternatives or meat. Jackfruit is very low in sodium and contains 3g of fiber per serving, where as meat doesn’t contain any fiber. 

What does shredded jackfruit taste like?


Not much without the seasonings and sauce. Like tofu, jackfruit doesn’t have much flavor on it’s own and relies on the sauce and seasonings that you are using to cook it. 

Any other tips for making vegan jackfruit BBQ? 


If you want your BBQ jackfruit to have a ‘burnt ends’ texture (very popular here in St. Louis), then you’ll want to add the finished sauced jackfruit to a baking pan and then bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until some of the ends have crisped up. This method produces a combo of wet and drier jackfruit ‘meat’.

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

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how to make jackfruit

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches

  • Author: Alexandra Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Stove top and Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches! If you haven’t tried this pulled pork alternative before, you’ve gotta try this recipe. Shredded Jackfruit with homemade BBQ sauce.


  • Author: Alexandra Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Stove top and Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alexandra Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Stove top and Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

For the BBQ Jackfruit:

  • 2 cans young green jackfruit in water or brine (not in syrup).
  • 1 white or yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: paprika and cumin
  • 1 teaspoon each: chili powder and garlic powder.
  • 12 cups BBQ sauce of choice.
  • 8 Buns

Coleslaw

  • 4 cups shredded cabbage (or one bag, that’s usually what I do for ease)
  • 1 shredded carrot, if desired. I like the crunch of carrots in my slaw but you can omit for ease.
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon maple syrup. I like my slaw to have a slight sweet and tangy bite, so I add in a pinch of maple syrup.
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. To start, sauté an onion in a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until the onion is fairly soft and translucent.
  2. Drain and rinse the jackfruit. Remove from the can and slice the jackfruit from the core to the end, lengthwise. Doing it this way will allow the jackfruit to shred properly. (Or, prepare jackfruit as discussed in my how to cook jackfruit post.) 
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until just browned. Next, add in the jackfruit and cook another minute or two. From here, add in the paprika, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder.
  4. Using a potato masher, mash the jackfruit until it resembles shredded meat. Stir in 1 cup BBQ sauce and simmer until warmed through. If you want your jackfruit more saucy add more. I usually add in ~1 1/2 cups but I like my jackfruit very saucy.
  5. To make the coleslaw, mix together all of the ingredients and season to taste.
  6. Serve with buns of choice and coleslaw.

Notes

I love a grilled pineapple with these sandwiches as well! To do so, lightly oil a ring of fresh pineapple (or rinsed canned pineapple ring) and grill for 2-3 minutes per side. 

did you make this?

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Samantha
      July 11, 2022 AT 6:14 am

      No one even missed the pork. Will make again.

    2. Tisa
      March 15, 2022 AT 5:37 am

      Do you have a favorite BBQ sauce recipe? I find a lot of the store bought sauces are to sweet for my tastes. Any suggestions? What dressing did you use for the coleslaw?
      Thank you!

    3. Brooke
      March 8, 2022 AT 8:20 pm

      So delicious! Also refer to the post about how to cook jackfruit in a large batch. I followed that and now have some in the freezer ready for jackfruit tacos!

      1. Alex
        March 9, 2022 AT 8:33 am

        Yay! I love that idea– so glad you liked them.