Recipe: Vegan Pulled...Pork?

Barbecue is really one of the only "meaty" things I crave...something about that sweet, salty, spicy, sticky goodness. When I lived in Colorado, I was introduced to jackfruit as a sort of meat substitute at a restaurant called Linger in Denver. Their vegan steamed buns were made with jackfruit and, I believe, mushrooms. They were excellent and crave-worthy. Obviously, I had to go home and recreate. I found several brands of canned young jackfruit in water/brine at the local Korean market. I tried every brand and didn't find much of a difference between them. On a positive note, it's quite an inexpensive ingredient - about one dollar per 15-oz. can!

As the jackfruit cooks, it sort of pulls apart just like pork might. I love spicy Texas barbecue sauce, but also love Korean barbecue sauce if I am using steamed buns. Choose your favorite sauce! This is excellent on steamed buns*, in tacos, in a sandwich, or even served over steamed rice as a friend of mine prefers.

Ingredients:

2 15-oz. cans of young jackfruit in water, drained and roughly chopped
2 cups oyster mushrooms, sliced
1 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 16-oz. bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 Thai chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 bunch scallion, thinly sliced (reserve some for garnish)
2 radishes, thinly sliced, for garnish

Method:

1. In a large (preferably cast-iron) skillet, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil on med-high heat and sauté the mushrooms until golden brown. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside.

2. In the same skillet, add another 1-2 tbsp. olive oil and sauté the onions, carrots, and Thai chile for about 5 minutes. Add the jackfruit to the pan and, as it cooks, begin to smash the jackfruit with the back of a wooden spoon and allow it to pull apart. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. 

3. Add the mushrooms back to the pan as well as one cup of the barbecue sauce and reduce the heat to medium-low. Stirring occasionally, allow the mixture to simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sauce thickens. Continue to smash the jackfruit with the back of a wooden spoon as it softens. 

4. Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining barbecue sauce as well as most of the scallions (just reserve a few pinches for garnish). 

Garnish with sliced radish and scallion and serve whichever way you prefer!

*I use David Chang/Momofuku's recipe for steamed buns, but you can often find frozen buns at a Chinese grocery store.