BBQ Jackfruit…”Their” Way and Mine — April 19, 2021

BBQ Jackfruit…”Their” Way and Mine

I grew up in the deepest part of the Deep South…a place known for its good cooking, love for fried food, ability to prepare and eat almost any carnivorous thing that happens to cross our driveway(?!), a high propensity for eventually developing type 2 diabetes, and the list could go on and on and on…

Where I’m from there’s no questioning if you “might be a redneck or not”…even the lawyers and doctors in my hometown wove their redneck flags with pride…just wearing better quality and more expensive clothes than most of their other counterparts.

So I shoulda known that eventually the dreaded d-word “diabetes” would enter our daily planet. 

And I also shoulda know that changing a lifetime of bad eating habits and poor diet choices was not gonna take place overnight. I mean there are certain things that a redneck girl just can’t give up too willingly—such as barbecue pulled pork sandwiches.

Growing up two hours south of Memphis, I must have eaten BBQ pulled pork or chicken at least once a week…loved it then…love it now…and probably couldn’t imagine life without it.

So living without my BBQ pulled pork or chicken was not even an option.

When we first received the official stamp across our doorpost reading “diabetic family,” I switched from the family meal section of my emeals meal planning subscription to the vegetarian section.

One of the first meals that I made when we ventured into vegetarian or plant-based or whatever-else-you-wanna-call it eating was BBQ jackfruit.

I had never heard of jackfruit, but it was on the menu…so it was now on my grocery list…and in my grocery cart…and in my freezer…and on my list of meals to cook for that week.

I kinda dreaded pulling the package out of the freezer to make the meal that first day that I tried it. I am from the Deep South. Leave my perfectly awesome pulled meat world alone.

That perfectly awesome pulled meat world that can find pulled meat topping anything from tortillas, buns, taco shell, wrap, whatever…maybe a baked potato…heck, where I’m from we could all probably eat bbq pulled pork three meals a day, every single day of the week and never get tired of it….kinda like Elf and his maple syrup.

But out of a sense of obligation, I prepped the BBQ whatever-the-heck-jackfruit-is stuff…

And I liked it…and my husband liked it…and my kids liked it…and even my brother Sam liked it.

Honestly, there are times when the crockpot full of bbq pulled pork or chicken just waiting to be plopped onto a bun with some coleslaw and served with baked beans and potato salad and sweet iced tea just keeps calling out my name…to me, this is the ultimate comfort food…

From now I save that meal for special occassions…

And on a more “regular” basis, I am quite content to go with the flow and settle for bbq jackfruit instead.

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BBQ Jackfruit

  • 2@14 oz cans green/unripe jackfruit packed in water
  • 2tsp olive oil
  • 1/3C chopped onion
  • 2 minced cloves garlic
  • 1Tbsp paprika
  • 1Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2tsp chili powder
  • 1/2tsp onion powder
  • 1/2tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4C BBQ sauce
  • Drain jackfruit. Shred the pieces apart hand. Heat 1Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook 5min. Stir together paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and salt in a small bowl. Add shredded jackfruit and spices to the skillet. Turn heat to low. Add BBQ sauce. Stir well so that all the jackfruit gets covered in the barbecue sauce. Cook for about five minutes.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. Freezing the BBQ jackfruit will change its overall texture…so I wouldn’t recommend freezing it yourself…just grab some the next time you place your grocery order or stroll through the frozen food aisles.

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Their Way

Black Beans

Even though we’re originally from Mississippi, my husband was active duty Army until he retired…so we have lived four different places in the last thirty-four years—Frankfurt, Germany…Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri…Fort Jackson, South Carolina…Fort Polk, Louisiana…and Dallas-Fort Worth, actually Arlington.

We have actually lived in the DFW area since 1992…and one thing I have learned—Texas is very different from the Deep South, states like Alabama and Mississippi.

And people here in Texas thing barbecue totally different from us…

The first time that I was invited to eat barbecue when we moved here, I was seriously disappointed to find that actually meant dried-out brisket…thankfully I’ve had much better barbecue here since…or have at least gotten used to brisket and acquired a taste for Tex-Mex food…as opposed to pulled pork barbecue sandwiches with coleslaw and potato salad and coleslaw…

Black Beans

1-1/2Tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1/2tsp paprika

1tsp cumin

14oz can drained and rinsed black beans

salt

Put everything in saucepan. Heat…(kinda obvious, right?!)

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Guacamole

4 medium avocados, scooped out and roughly chopped

1/2 small onion, diced

1/4tsp salt

2Tbsp lime juice

1 garlic clove

1/2 medium white onion, minced

cilantro and/or chives, optional

The key to making great guacamole is choosing the perfect avocados…avocados that are at that perfect stage of ripeness for making truly great guacamole. The avocados that you use to make your guacamole should have “give” all across its surface…in simple terms, should be mashable…

Just like using butter that has set out on the counter to reach room temperature before baking instead of simply using butter straight out of the fridge can make a huge difference in baking…choosing the right smooshability of avocados is important in making the perfect guacamole.

You also want to avoid any avocados that are past their prime. You can tell if this is the case by looking at how dark the skin has become. Trust me, there’s no telling how many overripe avocados I’ve reluctantly had to throw away.

But hey, I did learn a new fact today…I’ve always known to store them in a dark place or even in a paper bag to ripen them more quickly, but I’m gonna now start keeping mine in the fridge so that when my weekly supply of avocados arrives they will ripen less quickly. Just make sure that you set them out of the fridge and let them reach room temp before starting to make your guacamole.

  • Scoop the pit out of the avocado…Just be careful if you try to do this using the method I found on youtube where you pit the avocado using a tumbler or glass…My recent attempt at doing this ended up in two surgeries and lots of unpaid medical bills. Anyway, after you pit your avocados, use a potato masher or fork to mash them up until a few chunks still remain but most of the avocado is smooth—probably goes without saying, we’ve all eaten guac before, right?!
  • Once you finish smooshing up your avocado, add the onion and salt. Then drizzle lime juice over the top surface of the guacamole to prevent it from browning…waiting to stir the lime juice into the guac right before serving.

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  • Pico de gallo
  • 4 large Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2 diced red onion
  • 1/4C finely chopped coriander
  • 1 can diced green chilies
  • 2Tbsp lime juice
  • Put tomatoes in a colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Let sit there draining like this for at least twenty minutes. This will allow any excess moisture to drain out. When you are ready to finish making your meal, gently press the tomatoes to squeeze out even more juice. Combine the tomatoes, onion, coriander, chili and lime juice.

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Our Way

Coleslaw

  • 1 head cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2Tbsp finely chopped onion
  • ½C mayonnaise 
  • ⅓C white sugar 
  • ¼C milk
  • ¼C buttermilk
  • 2Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2Tbsp vinegar
  • ½tsp salt
  • ⅛tsp pepper 
  • Mix cabbage, carrots, and onion in a large salad bowl. Whisk mayonnaise, sugar, milk, buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and black pepper in a separate bowl until smooth and the sugar has dissolved. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and mix thoroughly. Cover bowl and refrigerate slaw at least 2 hours (the longer the better). Mix again before serving.

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Jackfruit…The Which — April 15, 2021

Jackfruit…The Which

Jackfruit can be found fresh, canned, or frozen in many specialty supermarkets and Asian food stores.







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Fresh Jackfruit

Fresh jackfruit can be purchased at Asian food markets and specialty stores…where it’s typically sold by the pound, The typical jackfruit will weigh somewhere between ten and twenty-five pounds.

The smell of a jackfruit indicates its ripeness: The stronger the jackfruit smells, the riper the jackfruit is.

Fresh jackfruit can often be hard to find when it is not in season, but can be useful at any stage of ripeness.







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Unripe Jackfruit..

Unripe jackfruit is green and will become yellow as it ripens. This unripe, green jackfruit is what most of us will find the most interesting and useful because it has a texture very similar to chicken or pulled pork, making it an excellent meat substitute—in such savory dishes as curries, pies, tacos, soups, stir-fries, chili, stews, wraps, and burritos.

Honestly, I’m not sure that I’d ever go to the trouble of buying a whole jackfruit and processing it myself…it seems like a big pain in the butt.

But…

If you’re willing to try it and let me know just how easy or difficult it is, go for it. I just had surgery on my hand and will be content to buy either the pre-packaged and pre-seasoned jackfruit chunks that are found in the freezer or the canned stuff…both already packaged to have that look and texture of meat that makes it such a great meat substitute.

If you do go all out and buy the real deal, first you have to cut through the thick, green coral reef-like skin with a sharp serrated knife. Chilling the jackfruit in the fridge for a while before breaking into it will make this easier to do.

Once you’ve dug your way into the jackfruit, you will find a creamy white interior filled with large, pale yellow seed-containing bulbs that are connected to the fruit’s core.

Keep slicing until you have large chunks of fruit (leaving the skin on).

Before you can use the fresh jackfruit in recipes, you will need to boil the jackfruit chunks for about 45 minutes…until the inner flesh is soft and a bit stringy, like chicken. You could also do this in your pressure cooker.



If you are working with a fresh, unripe jackfruit, first cut the fruit in half. Next remove the yellow fruit pods and seeds from the skin and core with either a knife or your hands. The white, fibrous parts inside of the jackfruit will be very sticky, so you probably should wear gloves while doing this.

You will need to boil the jackfruit chunks for at least thirty minutes…until the flesh becomes soft and stringy…the same texture as pulled pork or chicken….before you can use the jackfruit in any of the recipes that I will sharing in the next few posts..(more on this later)…



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Ripe Jackfruit

Ripe jackfruit has a rather neutral flavor that will absorb the flavor of whatever other foods it is cooked with, much like a potato. Fresh, ripe jackfruit can be eaten on its own, added to yogurt or oatmeal. or used to make a wide range of recipes—including desserts.

Often stores will sell packages of precut jackfruit because the entire jackfruit itself can be so big. Always choose this instead of buying a whole one and going to the trouble of cutting it yourself…will save you time, money, and effort in the long run.

Regardless what form of jackfruit you buy, always avoid fruit with black or dark spots.

If you buy green jackfruit, you need to go ahead and use it while it still is green…or process and freeze it as soon as possible.

Cut, ripened jackfruit can be stored in plastic in the fridge for up to a one week or in the freezer for up to a month.



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Jackfruit Seeds

You can also roast or boil the jackfruit seeds and then combine with seasonings to be eaten whole…or can be used to make hummus, top a salad, make a smoothie, or grind into flour.









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Canned Jackfruit

Canned jackfruit will be packed in either a brine or a syrup. Always choose jackfruit packed in brine because this will be better for making savory dishes.

Also check to make sure that the labels includes the words “green,” “young,” or “tender” if you plan on using the jackfruit as a meat substitute..



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Jackfruit Products

These days it seems like more and more foods containing jackfruit are sprouting up at your local Whole Foods, Sprouts, and the health-food section of just about any traditional grocery store. Try them. You might find yourself as pleasantly surprised as I was as to how great these products can be.