Can a rare, exotic, large, and $28 fruit be an adequate substitute for pork? Stay tuned to a future episode for the answer (or in short, the answer is…sort of.)
Its big like a watermelon, bumpy and spikey on the outside. $1.99 per pound. This one was the smallest one at 14 pounds. Thus a $28 dollar investment. I had to condone the purchase to my wife first, then for some reason, to the checkout lady as well. Before ringing it up she let me know that next time I could ask the produce guy to cut it in half for me. I decided to go whole hog on this pork substitute and get a full fruit.
Before cutting this thing open, I watched about ten youtube videos to see what I needed to do. They were somewhat helpful. Although the ripeness of jackfruit can really affect what you find inside.
For use as a meat substitute, its supposed to be very unripe, with more of the white strings than the yellow fruit. I think to make this pulled pork it should have been less ripe than the one I got (if I do this again, I’ll try to find canned or frozen, which is preserved unripened).
These are the edible “fruits” inside. This one was not super-ripe (but, as I learned, too sweet and ripe to be perfect as a meat substitute). So raw fruit-wise – it was not all that juicy and flavorful at first, but certainly edible. Like an unripe mango. The cut up pieces continued to ripen in the following week and ended up pretty tasty and very fragrant.
Jackfruit prep is not for quitters. This is half of the jackfruit, disassembled after about an hour’s work. In the blue bowl are some of the fruit pods as well as some of the latex-like fibers between each pod, which are flavorless. That, along with a little of the yellow fruit, is what I used to make that “pulled pork.” In the green bowl are the seeds. The others are the sweet fruit bits.
Its supposed to be essentially flavorless for faux pulled pork, and my jackfruit was ripe enough to be a little sweet, which isn’t terrible, but less than ideal – a little to sweet.
Sweet Baby Rays added and this “pulled pork” pretty much looks the part. Kinda reminiscent of mango salsa come to think of it.
Okay, but this one wasy way to sweet to pretend its meat. I wouldn’t serve this to guests, but I’ll eat it. I’m gonna try another batch with a not-sweet bbq sauce and frozen jackfruit and see if I can balance it out.
So in sum, I spent almost thirty bucks and cut into a jackfruit ripened at the exact wrong time to be tasty as a fruit or as a meat. I think a perfectly young fruit would be a legit meat substitute. And a perfectly ripe one would be quite tasty. Too bad this is the last fresh jackfruit I’ll ever be able to spend our hard earned money on.
I used the tastiest ingredients I could – including Sweet Baby Rays sauce, an awesome Portuguese roll and these amazing olive oil roasted garlic pieces. They are awesome, but if you eat a few, garlic will come out of your skin for a day…worth it.
I tried to repurpose some of the “pulled pork” by blending up some into a sauce.
I put it on some chicken to try “jackfruit chicken,” my own creation. It wasn’t very good.