To Eat, or Not To Eat…
As a society, we are collectively bound by our traditions. And this Missouri girl is no stranger to how deeply those traditions are woven into my Midwestern fabric. Missouri is a political bellwether state. We are known for smiling and waving to complete strangers. The word “honest” is something we live and die by. A person’s word and a firm handshake are all we need to seal a deal. But we also hold steadfast to our traditions and our bullheadedness has earned us the nickname “The Show Me State.” Creatures of habit, we like things the way we like ‘em, and change is not welcomed here. That said, change evolves as slowly as a Bootheel drawl. Now it’s not said that we can’t change, but you’ve got to show us why we should! Particularly when it comes to what we eat.
Kansas City, my hometown, sits on the far western edge of the state, and has had a long history of determining what we eat. And what we eat…is meat. The cattle industry, a thriving industry for over 120 years, began in the west bottoms of KC in 1871 where the Livestock Exchange & Stockyards operated for 12 decades. In 1899, the National Hereford Show was founded as a cattle show in the Kansas City Stockyardsand was later renamed the “American Royal” after a 1901 editorial in a entitled, “Call It The American Royal.”It’s also why my city would eventually name their baseball team, The Kansas City Royals. Twice a year in October and November, The American Royal is host to livestock and horse shows, a rodeo and a barbecue competition, all of which are held in the former stockyards.
Though the stockyards closed in 1991, the meat industry in KC still reigns as King…the King of Barbeque. From the Atlantic to the Gulf coast, bordered by the western outposts of Texas, my hometown lies in the middle of an area of the United States called the “Barbeque Belt”, an area that houses four distinct barbecue traditions – Carolina, Texas, Memphis and Kansas City. BBQ is as ingrained in me as any Midwestern heritage could be. And when I decided to stop eating meat, BBQ was a difficult task to master. I missed the smoky flavor and the unmistakable smell of BBQ pulled pork. Until now…
This recipe comes via Tasty and is one of the best recipes for making jackfruit I’ve found. Simmered in a ranchero sauce of sorts, the jackfruit is then slowly roasted in a 350° oven for 25 minutes. The crispy jackfruit is then added back to a skillet and doused with bbq sauce. It’s truly heavenly and it satisfies my craving for all things BBQ.
BBQ JACKFRUIT SLIDERS
for 12 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons pepper
- 20 oz young green jackfruit, 3 cans, in brine or water
- 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 ¼ cups barbecue sauce
Preheat oven to 400° Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit.
- In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes, until semi-translucent.
- Add the garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the jackfruit, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and liquid smoke, and mix well. Add the vegetable broth, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, until the jackfruit is soft enough to be mashed and most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Mash the jackfruit with potato masher or a couple of forks, until it looks pulled or shredded.
- Transfer the jackfruit to the baking sheet and spread in an even layer.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until the jackfruit is slightly browned and crispy.
- Remove the jackfruit from the oven, and pour the BBQ sauce over. Mix well.
- Return to the oven, and bake for another 10 minutes, until the edges are slightly crispy.
- Use a large bread knife to cut the whole sheet of slider buns in half, spread the BBQ jackfruit on the buns, then top with any additional favorites (pickles, slaw, more sauce!).