Vegan Pulled Pork with Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

Ohmygoodness you guys, I’ve been wanting to write this post for over a week now. I need some balance in my life, some hardcore balance. But my mother’s arriving in town in t-minus 4 hours, so I had an excuse. The garden? Weeds, weeds, weeds. The house? I mean, seriously, how does one cat produce so much fur and filth? It’s incredible. (On a side note, I should really compost her fur, not sure what I was thinking otherwise.) So right now I’m boiling potatoes during my lunch break to make a last-minute potato salad for tonight’s dinner and I have a few minutes. Vegan Pulled Pork with Rhubarb BBQ Sauce posting time it is!

Although it’s been getting some attention lately, I first read about jackfruit as a meat substitute on Jenn’s Veganize It, Don’t Criticize It blog. Since early 2009, I’ve been scouring Asian markets for the infamous canned (in water or brine, not syrup) jackfruit and haven’t had any luck until recently at Oasis World Market in Blacksburg. (You have no idea how amazing it would be if that store would open a location in Roanoke…heaven!)

With G out of town the other week, I figured it’d be the perfect time to experiment with a meat substitute since he isn’t so keen on them. I also figured it was definitely the time to use up some rhubarb I picked up from the farmers market.

Rhubarb is cool and all, but the texture really gets to me (stringy and mushy? ick), so after reading about Rhubarb Ketchup I knew I had to make a rhubarb BBQ sauce. I rarely find a BBQ sauce that I like online, as was the case when I Googled “rhubarb BBQ sauce,” but I read a few recipes and rolled the dice to figure out a flavor profile I was keen on. The final sauce is thick and tangy and a little sweet and a little savory–perfect for any grilled proteins or on a veggie burger. While I wasn’t super keen on the texture of the jackfruit, the real star of the game was the sauce, so I was a’ok with that. My final pulled pork sandwich was topped with a quick pickle of carrots and radish and red onions, lending the perfect crunch a bit more acidity to the sandwich. What’s not love?

Vegan Pulled Pork with Rhubarb BBQ Sauce

For the Pulled Pork:
1 can jackfruit (in water or brine, not syrup)
1/2 onion, sliced
Coconut oil
Water as needed

For the BBQ Sauce:
1 bunch rhubarb, chopped into equal pieces
1/2 large red onion, diced
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
3/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt
water to cover

For the Quick Pickles:
1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin rounds
2 radishes, cleaned and cut into thin rounds
1 c chopped cabbage
1/4 red onion, sliced into slivers
2 tbsp sugar
Rice vinegar to cover

Warm a tablespoon of coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the half onion slices and saute until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, drain and rinse the jackfruit. Chop larger chunks in halves or quarters. Place jackfruit in the pan with the onions and saute for 15-20 minutes, until the jackfruit has wilted and separated into ribbons (you might have to break apart chunks with a spoon while it cooks). Add water to the pan as necessary to cook the jackfruit (to keep it from burning). Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine all BBQ sauce ingredients in a saucepot. Add enough water to just cover the rhubarb and other ingredients. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Simmer for 30-40 minutes. Once everything is soft, transfer to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

To make the pickles, place the vegetables in a small glass or ceramic bowl. Add the sugar and then enough vinegar to cover the pickles to the top. Mix with your hands or a spoon and set aside for at least 30 minutes to pickle. Store in fridge for longer use.

To make the sandwiches, combine the jackfruit with just enough BBQ sauce to coat it and mix to coat. Place on toasted buns and top with the quick pickles. Enjoy with a side salad and a cold brew!

The Pulled Pork makes 4 servings.
The BBQ sauce makes approx. two cups.
The Quick Pickles make 1 cup pickled vegetables.

16 Responses to “Vegan Pulled Pork with Rhubarb BBQ Sauce”
  1. Jackfruit is something new to me, I’m skeptical but that sandwich looks awesome!

  2. this looks amazing..can’t tell it’s a vegetarian dish. I’ve never tried jackfruit either but it looks delicious.

  3. eileen says:

    Balance? What’s that? ;) At least you got a delicious sandwich to hep relieve all the stress–looks wonderful! And PICKLES. Pickles definitely help too.

  4. Barbara says:

    My rhubarb needs to be picked, so this bbq sauce sounds really good. Not sure about that jackfruit, though, but you make it look so appetizing, Jes. I love any kind of pickle and your simple recipe is perfect. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and just look the other way when it comes to cleaning. Enjoy the moment!

  5. Chuck says:

    I did a double take at first when I read the title of this lol. But I think its a fun way to eat a favorite and well done on mastering it!

  6. Now that is one juicy, “meaty” sandwich right there! I’ve had a spare can of jackfruit in my pantry for at least a year now without a purpose, so I’d love to finally use it up. This might be just the ticket!

  7. chow vegan says:

    Glad you were finally able to find the canned jackfruit, the sandwich looks really good! Haven’t heard of rhubarb bbq sauce before but then again I wasn’t a fan of rhubarb until a few years ago. Going to have to try the sauce now. :-)

  8. T says:

    Rhubarb BBQ sauce, OMG! What a fantastic idea! I’m always looking for new ways to use up all of this rhubarb in these parts.

  9. OMGAH that rhubarb bbq sauce sounds intense and amazing. My boyfriend just drooled reading over the ingredients for this post. “You have to make this Renee… I mean… WE have to make this Renee.” Haha!

    So nice to see Virginians blogging about righteous food! I dig.

    Renee Ranjani

  10. Anamorphosis says:

    I wanted to thank you for this recipe. I made an enormous amount with 5 + cans of jackfruit. I used a different BBQ sauce because rhubarb was out of season. Most of my food spread was from Vegan Soul Kitchen.
    Anyway, the primarily meat eating crowd of 50 people tucked into it. I was hosting an event where 50 of us chipped in to have Amanda Palmer play at my house. She told me she ate three servings of the pulled “pork.” So there you go.

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