Jackfruit has been popping up all over the place the last couple of years. For some, it’s some elusive fruit? Vegetable? Vegetarian/vegan meat substitute?  WHAT IS IT. That’s why I’m here. Let me break down what it is, where to get it, and how to prepare it.

It’s a fruit, technically. It’s also super ugly. But, you can buy it in a can and when you get it in brine, it’s not sweet. It takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with. I buy mine at the local Asian food market or on Amazon.

Like I said, “in brine” is the key here.

Drain the brine and dump the jackfruit triangles out onto a cutting board. You have to do a little work on these before you cook them.

Trim:

The point of the triangle is sorta a “core” and it’s a harder texture. You need to trim this away. You’re left with the outer edge which is a striated texture. Now, you need to break this apart with your fingers, resulting in a stringy meat texture.

However, there are “seeds” throughout these and they need to be removed. You’ll notice them as you’re pulling the “meat” apart with your fingers—they’re harder and smoother than the rest.

De-Seed:

You need to make sure you remove not only the seed, but the casing of it. As with the seed, it’s harder, smoother, and more rubbery than the rest. So, you’ll notice it.

The seeds won’t hurt anything, but they take away from the meaty texture.

I have included a video of this, as well: De-seeding Jackfruit Video

Cook:

Now, you’re ready to cook the fruits of your labor (ha, get it?). I begin by drizzling the shredded jackfruit with olive oil and adding generous sprinklings of onion salt, garlic salt, salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne. I drizzle some liquid smoke on top and let it cook for a bit. Once it’s heated, I add BBQ sauce and let it cook in (typically around 20 minutes, although you can let it cook on low for a couple of hours and it’d be even better). The longer it cooks slow, the softer and “meatier” it will become. Often, I’ll cook it on the stove for 15-20 then spread it thinly on a greased cookie sheet and bake it at 350 for another 20 to get a softer texture.

Voila: 

I’ve made these into sliders as well as tacos—neither disappoint.