Recipes / Boozy BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich

Boozy BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich

By Mark Bittman

Published March 19, 2020

This sandwich puts the power of barbecue sauce to work on a stringy, chewy tropical fruit. The combo can be so reminiscent of meat it freaks out some all-the-time vegans.

Boozy BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich - The Bittman Project
Aya Brackett
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A note on buying jackfruit: You want “young” or “green” canned jackfruit, not the fully ripe, stinky fruit. Stay away from the kind packed in syrup; choose a brand canned in water or brine and rinse it thoroughly to remove as much of the vinegary taste as possible. If you see frozen plain jackfruit, grab some. To use, thaw under cold running water (or in the fridge), squeeze it dry, and proceed. The sauced jackfruit will be even better reheated the next day.


Make The Recipe!

Boozy BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich

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Makes 4 servings 1x

Time 1 hour

Units Scale


  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup scotch, bourbon, or other whiskey
  • 5 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Two 15-ounce cans jackfruit in water or brine, drained (see the note above)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chile (like jalapeño or Thai), or to taste
  • 2 cups cored and shredded cabbage, any type (about 1 pound)
  • 1 tart, crisp apple, cored and chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 large loaf ciabatta bread (about 1 pound), or 4 ciabatta rolls


  1. Combine the ketchup, whiskey, 4 tablespoons vinegar, and the soy sauce in a medium saucepan; add three-fourths of the onion, most of the garlic, and all the chili powder and paprika. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and the sauce thickens slightly, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. (Use right away or cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to a week.)
  2. Rinse and drain the jackfruit in a colander, pressing down to extract as much water as possible. Run your hands through the pieces, pulling and separating them into shreds with your fingers.
  3. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the jackfruit and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp in places, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sauce and bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently. Cook, stirring once in a while, until the sauce has thickened and the jackfruit has absorbed some of the flavor, 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Whisk together the mustard and remaining tablespoon vinegar in a large bowl, along with the rest of the garlic and the chili. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil a little at a time, whisking all the while. Add the cabbage, apple, remaining onion, and the raisins and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat with the dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then refrigerate until ready to serve. (It’s best to let the slaw rest for a few minutes so the cabbage can soften and exude some juice to plump the raisins, but it will start to brown after about 1 hour.)
  5. When you’re ready to eat, cut the ciabatta (if you’re using it) crosswise into squares, then slice each piece in half horizontally to create a sandwich bun; if using the rolls, simply slice them for sandwiches. Divide the jackfruit among the bread, top with some of the slaw and a second slice of bread, and serve.

— Recipe from Dinner for Everyone