There's a tiny place near our house that sells an amazing faux pulled pork sandwich. It's basically a convenience store with a flat top grill, a row of bar stools, an espresso machine, and electropop on the radio. Sandwiches are around $6 bucks and you'll be dining with a mix of construction works and hipsters. I can't figure out how they make their faux pulled pork to save my life, and it's the kind of thing you crave at odd hours. They say they're using "tofu skin," but I'm at a complete loss for how they arrive at the texture of the final product. I would have guessed seitan was involved, but I would have been wrong. If you live in Montreal, it's worth checking out - Dépanneur Le Pick Up. You won't be sorry.
I gave up on trying to master a BBQ tofu sandwich a while ago - I always end up with an unimpressive flavourless rubber concoction covered in BBQ sauce. Le Pick Up sandwiches are great, but what if I need a spicy, sloppy, BBQ sandwich fix during their off hours? Lucky for me, (and you) I've just found a killer alternative in jackfruit. Jackfruit appeared on my radar for the first time a couple of months ago when I read about it in a tiny online cookbook from Vega. It can be preserved in syrup as a sweet fruit, in which case its flavour is somewhere between pineapple and banana, or it can be preserved in brine and used as a pork substitute. Now THAT's a versatile fruit.
Today I finally got around to trying it out and am quite pleased with the results. You can most likely find it in an Asian import store that carries goods from Vietnam, Thailand, and/or India. The recipe that follows will make enough for about three sandwiches. Next time, I'll go for two or three cans, cook it in a slow cooker, and make enough to have sandwiches for a couple of days.
1 20oz can young green jackfruit in brine
3 - 6 garlic cloves - smashed
1 tsp olive or coconut oil
1/2 - 1 cup (low sugar) BBQ sauce
1-2 T adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers (optional)
water, as needed
Shredded cabbage or cole slaw
Hot pepper rings
Fresh arugula or spinach
Whatever else you like on your sandwich!
- Drain the jackfruit and rinse thoroughly, squeezing out as much excess water as possible
- In a small saucepan or medium cast iron skillet, sauté the garlic in the oil.
- Add drained, squeezed jackfruit, a pinch of salt, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Dial the heat down to low, add the BBQ sauce, and stir to coat.
- Simmer on low, partially covered, stirring occasionally for about an hour. Add more sauce and/or water as needed.
- Once the jackfruit is cooked it will start to fall apart quite easily. Shred it with a fork if necessary.
- Optional: If you have the time - set it aside to let the flavours meld for a couple of hours or even overnight, then reheat to serve. This is great to prepare in advance and heat up on the fly.