Barbecue with a Twist | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Barbecue with a Twist 

“It is one of my go-to dishes for meat eaters and non-meat eaters.”


I've been meat-free for 15 years (seven as a vegetarian and eight years as a vegan), but I still love Southern-style comfort food. When I was 23, I discovered jackfruit at Bombay Food Market on Centre Avenue. I lived near the market and went frequently. During a trip with my roommate Lauren, we saw a spiky, peculiar fruit. I had never seen anything like it. Lauren looked it up and told me that it was a jackfruit and is used as a poultry substitute in other countries. I went back to the store, purchased my first jackfruit and spent the afternoon digging out the meat and seeds. I learned (the hard way) that canned jackfruit will yield more fruit with way less work and that many people eat it sweet, not savory. Thanks to Hilary Zozula’s jackfruit carnitas at Eden, I discovered that Lotus Food Company sells both fresh and canned jackfruit. Since then, this is one of my go-to dishes for meat eaters and non-meat eaters.


  • 30 oz. green jackfruit in water. Note: Sometimes it’s canned in syrup. Keep an eye out for this since this recipe is meant to be savory.
  • ½ bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ onion, dice
  • 2 tbsp. oil of choice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ - 1 cup Sweet Baby Ray's Barbeque Sauce or any other you like, to taste
  • 24 slider buns
  • 3 avocados, sliced
  • 1 head lettuce


Use a knife to cut and shred the jackfruit with your fingers. Some parts will shred, while others will need to be sliced thinly. Heat oil in a pan and add onions, garlic, peppers and jackfruit. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sauté the mixture until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Add a generous amount of barbeque sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes so all the flavors are incorporated. Alternatively: Add onions, garlic, peppers, jackfruit, barbeque sauce, salt and pepper to a slow cooker and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. Serve on a regular (or toasted) bun with avocado and lettuce. Makes about 24 sliders.



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