The first time I heard about this jackfruit thing was when I was watching the second season of The Great Food Truck Race because I heard there was a vegan food truck participating. The Seabirds truck was known for it's "jackfruit tacos" and they kept talking about them.
I looked up recipes and found two basic ideas:
1. Jackfruit "pulled pork" made by slow cooking jackfruit in BBQ sauce.
2. Jackfruit "carnitas" made by cooking jackfruit with onion, garlic, and spices.
I went right out and got three cans of jackfruit. As soon as I got home, I looked at the recipes closer, and saw that I needed GREEN jackfruit, not the ripe jackfruit I had purchased. Of course. I went back to the store and there was no green jackfruit, just the ripe kind. The store I was at is largely Asian goods, so I was worried I wouldn't find it anywhere. Everything I read said to look in Asian groceries though, so I tried another shop and found some. I got two cans to try each method.
First I made the "pulled pork." I sautteed the jackfruit with some garlic and got it a bit browned, then put it in the crock pot with a generous covering of my favorite BBQ sauce. Straight out of the can, the jackfruit has a mild flavor that reminds me of a lychee, but not nearly as sweet. The floral flavor still reads as sweet though, and I felt like with my sweet BBQ sauce it was just not right. The texture was good though. With the right sauce, it would probably be good.
Next, I made the "carnitas." I had a "carne asada" spice pack that I had been wanting to use. It was a late night snack, because my hubs wanted some nachos. He heated up some black beans and cheddar daiya, while I made the jackfruit. I rinsed the jackfruit and sauteed it with some oil and garlic. Once it started to get browned, I mashed it up with a potato masher. It's almost unsettling how the texture looks like shredded meat. I then added the spices and continued to cook it until it got nice browned bits, and is mostly crispy. I put these crispy, spicy, tender bits on top of the nacho dip and it added great texture and flavor. The sweetness didn't come through for me, so it was perfect. No, it's not meat, and frankly I don't really want something too much like meat anymore.
I liked it so much that I sent my darling husband to get some more jackfruit for me... A lot more. The thing is, with two little ones, it's impossible to go into a small Asian grocery store. So I texted Gordon while he was out running errands and said, "Could you get 10 or more cans of jackfruit?"
Apparently, a white guy buying 10 cans of jackfruit in a tiny Asian grocery store isn't odd enough to even warrant asking what he was using it for or why he liked it so much. I wish I could read the cashier's mind and know what she thought of this purchase.
Sorry I don't have pictures, but I will try to update with some next time I make this.