My reason for not going vegetarian is still partly selfish, partly necessary to stay alive, because I can’t find enough meat substitutes to completely cut it out. Meat and I have a tumultuous relationship- not in its original form? Fine. Burgers, sandwiches, a nice and processed nugget, perfect. Very rarely though, will I eat a full chicken breast or wing, and never a rib.
I like to think of myself as a particular eater, not a picky one, so I’m always searching for new meat alternatives, and was excited to find a ready-made pulled BBQ jackfruit at a local health food store. I’ve heard people claim that it tastes “exactly like pulled pork” and while I was prepared for it to not be exactly like the real pork goodness, I thought it might be a possible protein option to toss into our dinner routine. For comparison, I got our usual pre-made pulled pork from the grocery store (but mainly as a backup).
WHAT IS A JACK FRUIT?
A jack fruit is grown on a tree, it’s native to Southwest India, and resembles something like a pear-y melon. It is not to be eaten raw, and it’s full of all sorts of goodness like fibre, vitamin B, it helps prevent indigestion, and bonus- an animal didn’t have to die for your meal. But the real question is: does it taste good enough to sub out real pulled pork?
Unlike our usual pulled pork (which you bring to a boil in a vacuum sealed bag), you warm up (cook?) the jackfruit in a pan. My initial reaction was… okay, I can see how this looks like pulled pork, but I wasn’t sold yet. I heard that you should cook it for longer than recommended, and it just stayed in this weird gloopy clump.
Would it sub out my usual pulled pork? Absolutely not, and I definitely wouldn’t mess around with a pre packaged one again either. There were some pieces that look like the stringy pulled pork I’m used to, but the majority were weird and definitely looked vegetable like. The texture is softer and hard to get past, but the sauce was the biggest issue (something you could definitely avoid by making your own).
This is unfortunately my typical experience with vegan/vegetarian substitutes, I want to love them and I know they can’t be perfect, but they don’t even come close. We tried to put the jackfruit in a wrap with coleslaw, and I honestly still couldn’t get past the taste/texture.
I’m sorry to say it but… omnivores 1, vegans 0. Until next time!