Business Name: Upton's Naturals Location: Chicago, USA Where I bought it: veggie-shop24.com
Main Ingredient: Jackfruit Main Flavor: Sweet, Smoky and a bit spicy Rating: 5/5
My first reaction to when I saw BBQ Jackfruit was, 'what the hell is Jackfruit, what can I do with it and does it taste good?'
I have never had Jackfruit nor did I know anything about it but soon Google and I spent a rainy afternoon with Josh Ritter's music and I found out so what it is and what I can expect when I eat it.
1. Mainly comes from India, though south and south east Asia also manufacture it and use it.
2. It is a good source of fiber
3. An average Jackfruit can weigh up to 35kg (80ish pounds)
4. It has a sweet flavor, sort of a cross between an apple and a pineapple
5. It is related to a fig
6. And it looks like this
I have to admit that while I do love really great tofu, sometimes it's good to break away from soy so I was very curious has to what magical, delicious thing I was about to it eat and to see if I really like it or not.
I didn't want to put too much pressure on Upton's BBQ Jackfruit as it would seem unfair to the fine folks at Upton's if I didn't actually like Jackfruit and thus rated their product poorly, when in fact it was just me not liking Jackfruit. So to try and be fair, I had some plain, Jackfruit to give myself a frame of reference so I could see if Upton's had a great product.
First, when the you take it out of the plastic, the product looks, stringy, like shredded beef and since I believe that was the desired effect so far, I believe that I am off to a good start.
Now, I looked at the website of the Upton's and found that it was in-fact quite simple to prepare, first you heat up in a frying pan with a little oil and once hot place the BBQ Jackfruit in the hot pan (minus the plastic bag) for between 8 and 10 min and then serve. So I did. Now, since it looked like BBQ shredded beef, I thought I would try it first just on a regular bun and the second way on a potato bun with some freshly made coleslaw.
First the regular bun.
Nothing fancy with this, I just wanted to taste the BBQ Jackfruit as the folk at Upton's Naturals wanted me to, and while I was surprised by the sweetness of the product (which I really shouldn't have been) I found that the flavor was fantastic and the texture while 'meaty' didn't try and get to close to actual meat. The BBQ sauce, had a slight hint of heat, one that sat at the tip of the tongue and like a good house guest disappeared shortly after it's arrival and while not over powering the Jackfruit the BBQ sauce managed to stand up to the rather plain bun. Soon all that was left on my plate where bread crumbs and BBQ sauce smears and a deep satisfaction of having had something that was fantastic and I couldn't wait to have some more.
On the Upton's Naturals website (http://www.uptonsnaturals.com/) I found that the recommend trying the product with coleslaw, which I did and went with a more flavorful bun. I did this as a way of seeing if the Jackfruit and the BBQ sauce had enough power to stand out, even with a more flavorful bun. And I can tell you that the added creaminess of the vegan mayo in the coleslaw, brought this BBQ Jackfruit sandwich quickly to the top of one of my favorite sandwiches of all time. The sweetness of the Jackfruit with the slight spiciness of the BBQ sauce and the crunch and creaminess of the coleslaw was an absolute joy in my mouth.