I grew up in Texas, the land of barbecue brisket, ribs and smoked pulled pork.

While I no longer crave meat, I still love the spicy sweet, black-pepper heat of a good, thick Texas-style BBQ sauce.

Turns out young, green jackfruit is the perfect whole-food, plant-based substitute for meat in a barbecue-style sandwich or baked potato topper.

Jackfruit is a large, tropical fruit. (It’s the largest tree fruit in the world!) When young and green, it’s flavor is only slightly sweet. When you cook it, the flesh of the fruit shreds like pulled pork.

But unlike pulled pork, there are no carcinogens, saturated fat or cholesterol.  Instead, you get some fiber and a good amount of magnesium, vitamin C, and cancer-fighting phytonutrients. (Sounds like a pretty good trade to me!)

Fortunately, there’s no need to hunt down and lug home a 30-50 lb. green jackfruit.

You can get it in cans online at Amazon.com. I have a 6-pack of 14-oz cans of Native Foods Organic Young Jackfruit sent to me monthly on my Subscribe and Save order, and it works out to less than $3 a can.

This recipe is so easy, I feel silly even calling it a “recipe.”

Serve it to your family. Don’t tell them it’s jackfruit.

Kids usually don’t notice it’s not meat. Adults will probably realize it’s not meat, but it tastes so darn good they won’t complain!

Easy BBQ Jackfruit

Serves 4

2 cans green jackfruit (14 oz each)
1/2 (18 oz) bottle of good quality BBQ sauce (I like STUBB’S brand)

For Sandwiches:

4 whole wheat burger buns
sliced dill pickle and onions (optional)

For Baked Potatoes:

4 large russet potatoes, baked
1-2 green onions, chopped


Rinse the jackfruit well under running water and drain.

Place the jackfruit in a slow cooker. Add half a bottle of BBQ sauce. Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours, or on high for 4 hours. Check it toward the end to ensure the sauce is not burning. Add a small amount of water or some additional BBQ sauce if it is getting too dry.

Use a potato masher or fork to mash the jackfruit into shreds, and mix with the sauce.

Serve on whole wheat buns and top with pickles and onions and extra sauce.

OR top 4 baked potatoes with jackfruit and green onions.

Have you tried jackfruit? What’s your favorite way to prepare it?