Decadent vegetarian BBQ jackfruit pulled pork burger will fool any meat lover. It comes with my favorite homemade burger brioche bun recipe.
I’m a truly veggie lover and most of the recipes on the blog are actually plant-based (97% of them in 2017). I have never been a big meat lover, and even if I don’t call myself vegetarian I I could almost be one. There is however one exception: I am absolutely crazy about pulled pork. I don’t eat it so often as I am very picky when it comes to pork and its origin, but if I try it I really, really like it, I must admit. Dear vegetarian and vegan friends, I know you’re not with me here, but just wait until you see the transformation in me in just a moment…
Let’s start with the beginning of this story. I tried pulled pork for the first time in New York many years ago, and it was served in a taco. What I love(d) about it was mostly its texture, and also the seasoning. As you probably know already, what we call pulled pork is a method of cooking pork where what would otherwise be a tough cut of meat is cooked slowly at low temperatures, often with a smoking method, allowing the meat to become tender enough so that it can be “pulled”, or easily broken into individual pieces.
Then a couple of years ago, I went to a fancy kebab restaurant with a few friends in Gothenburg in Sweden. I was there for a film festival with friends and took the occasion to visit what is the second larger city in Sweden (for those who just started to follow me, I lived in Sweden by the time). Our friends were vegetarian and were so excited to take us to this kebab place to introduce us to (should I say “to fool us with”?) so-called jackfruit!
For me, it was love at first bite. I was literally blown away by this miracle ingredient that has everything from meat… except that it’s NOT meat! Are you still with me or did I lose you already? Ok, so what is jackfruit? The answer is in the name: jackfruit is actually… a fruit! It comes from a tree in the fig family, native to southwest India. The jackfruit tree is a widely cultivated throughout the tropical regions of the world. It’s also the national fruit of Bangladesh.
What makes it so special is indeed its flesh, which is both starchy and fibrous (it’s a great source of dietary fiber), while its flavor is naturally sweet, with subtle flavoring and a perfect meat-like taste. For this reason, it is used in various curry dishes in southwest Asia. The skin of unripe jackfruit must be peeled first; then the remaining whole jackfruit can be chopped into edible portions and cooked before serving. Young jackfruit has a mild flavor and distinctive meat-like texture and is often compared to poultry or pork. Actually, when cooked with this BBQ sauce, you will probably not guess at first that it’s not actual pulled pork. Bluffing!
Now if you’re interested in the composition of jackfruit, here are some nutritional information about this fruit. First of all, the pulp of jackfruit is composed of 74% water, 23% carbohydrates, 2% protein and 1% fat. In a 100-gram portion, raw jackfruit provides 400 kJ (95 kcal) and is a great source of vitamin B6 and it also contains vitamin C and potassium. For me the main difference when using jackfruit instead of pulled pork is how easy it is to digest, which makes this burger much healthier than the one made with actual pulled-pork meat.
Now just a few words about the burger buns, also homemade in this recipe. I had two other burger bun recipes on the blog (this one and this one), and I now come back with a new one, which is more looking like a brioche dough, both in texture and in flavor. It’s significantly richer in taste, soft, slightly “pillowy”, and just delicious. I usually prepare the dough the night before (it’s quite quick, especially if you use a Kitchen Aid), let it rest overnight, and shape the buns the day after. You will be so proud of your own burger buns, not to mention that you will amaze every single of your guests with this awesome vegetarian pulled-pork version made out of jackfruit. Jump to the recipe now!
- 2.8 oz (80g) milk
- 1.7 oz (50g) water
- ¼ oz (7g) active dry yeast
- 10.5 oz (300g) flour
- 1 large egg + 1 egg for brushing
- 1.5 oz (45g) sugar
- 3.5 oz (100g) butter at room temperature, diced
- 1 tsp (5g) salt
- 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 10 oz (285g) jackfruit, rinsed and drained
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup barbecue seasoning*
- ⅓ cup (80g) vegan barbecue sauce
- 2 Tbsp ketchup
- 2 cups (180g) shredded cabbage, red and green
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp sour cream
- 1 pinch salt
- Lettuce leaves
- 1 small jalapeno, sliced
- In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast into the water and the lukewarm milk.
- Put all your ingredients except for the salt into the bowl of a Kitchen Aid. Mix on speed 1 for about two minutes. Add the salt. Mix on speed 4 for two minutes. Switch to speed 6, and mix until the dough becomes smooth and slaps the bowl.
- Remove from the bowl and shape into a ball with your hands. Place into the bowl again and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
- Shape the dough: divide the dough into 6 equal parts. Use your hands to flatten each dough portion. Fold the tips into the center, and repeat again from all sides, until you get a little pouch. Flip it over, trap the dough with your hands, press a little bit and roll it onto the counter top. It must stick to the counter top a little bit.
- Place each little ball onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover with a cloth and let rise until the dough is strong and you feel the air inside, about one hour minimum.
- Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle some sesame seeds on top, and bake without steam on 375 F (190 C) for about 15 minutes.Transfer to a cooling rack and set aside.
- Mix barbecue seasoning in a small bowl. Add to jackfruit and toss to coat.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add one tablespoon of oil and once hot, throw in the onion. Cook until golden, then add the seasoned jackfruit. Toss to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes to achieve some color.
- Add the barbecue sauce, ketchup, and thin with enough water to make a sauce. Stir and reduce heat to low- medium and cook for about 20 minutes (up to 35 minutes on low for a deeper flavor).
- In a medium size bowl, toss red and green cabbage with lime juice, white wine vinegar, cream, and salt. Set aside.
- Slice burger buns in half, and fill the inside with lettuce, cabbage slaw, jackfruit pulled pork and jalapeno slices. Enjoy!