Friday, March 02, 2012

Jackfuit pulled 'pork'

February 25, 2012
Apparently jackfruit pulled 'pork' circulated the vegan blogosphere a few years ago - Cindy reckons she first saw it on Chow Vegan. Then we sampled it here in Australia at The Gasometer and started plotting our own home-made version. The first challenge was finding canned jackfruit - most Asian supermarkets sell cans of it but they usually have it floating in syrup. For this more savoury meal you need to have it canned in brine. Thankfully K came through with two cans for us (although we're still not sure where from) and with the heat keeping us inside on the weekend we had plenty of time to give it a shot.

It's a bit of faffing about to make but luckily Jessica at Clean Green Simple has put together a detailed, photo-heavy post walking you through the whole process. We basically copied her recipe step for step. The end result was a baking tray full of stringy, tender and surprisingly porky looking jackfruit. The spice rub and sauce combo had a good mix of smokiness, tomatoey sweetness and spice but on the whole the 'pork' was a tiny bit lacking in savouriness - Cindy reckons a generous slosh or two of Worcestershire sauce would improve things next time. And there will be a next time because this was basically a success. It worked okay on our fancy rolls with a few greens and some coleslaw on the side, and then when we combined the coleslaw and pork on the same sandwich it became a really magnificent lunch.

Jackfruit pulled pork
(recipe taken from Clean Green Simple)

2 cans jackfruit in brine
2 small onions, chopped finely
5 cloves garlic, minced

spice rub
1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt

6 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons veggie oil
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Drain the brine off the jackfruit and rinse it well. Chop the firm centre-piece off each jackfruit segment so that you're just left with the stringier bits.

Combine all the dry rub spices and then stir through the stringy jackfruit pieces - the spice rub should stick to the fruit pretty effectively.

Put the coated jackfruit pieces in a dry pan over medium heat and toast the spice rub - it should only take 5 minutes or so for the spices to start to smell delicious.

In a separate bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients and then pour them over the jackfruit in the pan. Get it all simmering and cook for about half an hour - you want some of the sauce to be absorbed and for the jackfruit pieces to go nice and soft and start falling apart. Once it's ready pull the jackfruit apart with a couple of forks into nice stringy pieces (see above).

Spread the jackfruit mix out in a lightly oiled baking tray and stick it in the oven. Cook for twenty minutes, stirring after ten.



  1. First up, there's very little that's not improved by a generous slosh or two of wusty! :) (do you use a vegetarian version and if so where do you find it?)
    Secondly, I found that backing way off on the maple syrup with baked beans worked really well and given that the spice combination here is similar I'd guess it would help with this too (given your comment about the lack of savouriness).

    1. Hi CheezyK - yep, we use Melrose Worcestershire sauce. I'm not familiar with the Spring Gully one that Danni recommends below but it also looks worth a shot! I think we've bought ours at Radical Grocery and several health food/wholefood shops.

      You could be onto something, we should probably try dialling down the maple syrup next time.

  2. Sounds interesting - I have seen the idea about and thought it looks worth a try - but I think my problem is that I have never eaten pulled pork and wouldn't know what to do with it? One of the problems with trying to use faux meat as a vegetarian

    1. Hi Johanna - we've never tried the real thing either, I did quite some googling to work out how best to serve it! I've also seen it in tacos quite a bit.

  3. This looks and sounds really good! I made a pulled "pork" late last year which simply simmered the jackfruit in a homemade BBQ sauce and we didn't enjoy it. The boys decided they hated jackfruit after that experience but a recent recipe test of jackfruit carnitas has brought them back around again.

    BTW - I have found in a few Asian grocers that the sweet/yellow/ripe jackfruit is shelved with the other tinned fruits and the green/unripe jackfruit is located amongst the tinned vegetables.

    1. Hi Mel! I will have to keep my eye out for that carnitas recipe when the book's released, and for the briny jackfruit too. Thanks. :-)

  4. @CheezyK: the Spring Gully brand is vegan:

    1. Thanks Danni - I don't know if I've seen that brand before! We've always bought the Melrose one with an orange label.

  5. Worcestershire makes everything better. See also: chilli :) I've heard of this but haven't yet had the chance to try it. I did have jackfruit chips a few times while travelling, but they were a bit sweetish!

    1. Hannah - the sweet side of jackfruit is still completely foreign to me, though clearly it is common because it's easy to track down smothered in syrup!

  6. I did see jackfruits in brine at our local asian supermarket the other day, and this got me thinking...!

    And I just get my Spring Gully Worcestershire (the spelling does my head in!) sauce at Coles, with the others. It's always strange what they do/don't have.

    1. Coles! There you go. Much more accessible than the places I hunt it out.