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Vegan Pulled Poke (Pulled Pork, but Not Really)

| 06/24/2014 | 2 Replies vegan vegetarian and plant based recipes and health information for African Americans

This is the business y’all! I’m calling it “pulled poke” in honor of my grandfather, because that is how he pronounced “pork”. The things we remember about our ancestors.

Anyway, I was really seriously wanting something that had the pulled pork texture, flavor and taste because of one thing that happened recently.  Here at The Compound the owner holds a pig roast twice a year, something he’s been doing for the past 40 years.

Though I’ve been to at least 10 of them, I’ve yet to taste the pig! Usually I brought other dishes like shrimp jambalaya, sweet potato pies, potato salad, pasta or fruit salad, etc. Regardless, it’s always a fun party and a great mix of interesting of people.  This year we even had live music with a vocalist from New Orleans!

pulled poke-pig roast

pulled poke-pig roast3

Since I was in charge of the menu, I made sure we had lots and lots of vegan and vegetarian options to eat, and people LOVED everything. Vegan, vegetarian and omni alike descended on this place like locusts and ate everything in sight. I debuted my experimental fresh apricot bars at the party, and they were a huge hit!

So by the time the pig was ready, most people were already pretty stuffed, so there were a lot of leftovers. The meat eaters made a tasty batch of pulled pork from my old recipe. Looking at them chow down made me want some – not talking about pig, but something that had the same rich hearty stick to your ribs feeling, the same color, the same smell, and the same deliciously spicy barbecue flavor.

Voila! Here it is.

pulled poke1

The interesting thing is that its made with something called jack fruit. Those who travel to the Caribbean, India, Latin America and Asia can get it fresh.  For my purposes, I hoofed it on over to the big Asian grocery store in our area and bought two cans of jack fruit – one was Young Green packed in brine, the other was ripe jack fruit packed in water. I was trying an experiment by mixing the two, but decided I prefer using all young green. Oh, and remember, if you buy your jackfruit in brine, you’ll need to wash it and squeeze out the salty water several times before using it in your recipe. Best to get it packed in water if you can find it.


The ingredients laid out on my cutting board


Onions are optional, but if you use them you want short, thin strips like this for texture, or minced if you want a smoother appearance.


Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil


Add the jackfruit and brown lightly on both sides


Put in crock pot, add BBQ sauce, stir and cook for 2 hours

The power and heat of crock pots varies greatly, so stir your mixture about every 30 minutes and test it for tenderness. Add more water or BBQ sauce if needed. Cook until jack fruit is tender and separates easily with a fork into strands.

pulled poke

Another thing to consider – the taste will depend upon the BBQ sauce you use. I usually make my own, but this time I was lazy and used a bottle of organic barbecue sauce from Costco, mixed with some Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce which is all we had in the fridge. Next time I will plan better and make my own.  Enjoy!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Vegan Pulled Poke (Pork, but Not Really)
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Surprisingly delish vegan version of pulled pork which uses jackfruit that I'm calling "Pulled Poke" because that's how my grandfather pronounced it! Try this inexpensive and easy to make dish for your next Meatless Monday.
Created by:
Recipe Type: Light Meals
Cuisine: Vegan
Number Servings: 4-5
What You Need
  • 2 20-oz cans of Young Green Jackfruit (packed in brine or water)
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • ¼ yellow onion, sliced thin then cut in half or minced
  • 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ tsp seasoning salt (I used Slap Ya Mama)
  • ¼ tsp ground black or cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/4 cups favorite BBQ sauce
  • Rolls or buns
How to Do It
  1. Pour jackfruit into colander and drain. Rinse thoroughly, gently squeezing the jackfruit in small batches. Do this several times to remove the canned water and/or brine solution.
  2. Pick over the jackfruit and remove the large seeds, breaking the wedges apart gently if necessary.
  3. In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium and saute the onions (if using) and saute for about 3 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and jackfruit and cook another 3-4 minutes, turning jackfruit to lightly brown on both sides. Sprinkle with seasoning salt and black pepper.
  4. Transfer contents of skillet to crock pot, then pour on your BBQ sauce. Stir to mix well. Add up to ½ cup water if needed.
  5. Cover crockpot and cook over high for an hour or so; check jackfruit to see if its tender enough to shred. If not, keep cooking for another hour, checking every 30 minutes or so, adding a tablespoon or two of water if required.
  6. When done and jackfruit shreds easily, take it out of the crockpot and shred with a fork. Return to unplugged crockpot and let sit, covered, for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to meld. Add additional salt or pepper to taste.
  7. Serve on rolls or buns, with a side of cole slaw or potato salad
This also makes a great filling for tacos and burritos.


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Category: Entrees, Light Meals

Comments (2)

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  1. Nokthula says:

    Thanks for the recipe Deborrah Cooper. The Jackfruit was a great success, I will definitely make it again, my family loved it!

  2. Felicia says:

    Thanks for the great recipe. I have not eaten pork in decades, and my husband and I have been observing a vegetarian lifestyle for only 11 months, so we still like to occasionally have barbeque. This was a delicious and tender vegetarian option. Although initially skeptical, especially after seeing the jackfruit prior to cooking, I have made this dish twice and both times, it was well received by my husband. I love that it requires just a few ingredients and a short amount of preparation and cooking time. Amazingly, after the shredding the jackfruit looks just like a “pulled” pork! This recipe will be a routine one for my family!

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