Jackknife Sandwiches 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Smoke Signals May 17, 2017

This deeply smoky sandwich is the popular alternative to pulled pork at Char Bar Smoked Meats & Amusements in Kansas City. Be advised that green jackfruit is not packed with protein, but it does shred with a texture akin to meat.

Our tester used the same spice blend from the Cherry-Glazed Baby Back Ribs recipe; see the related link. It's a good idea to handle the jalapeños with food-safe gloves.

You’ll need 1 cup of apple, pecan, oak or cherry wood chips, or about 6 fist-size chunks.

[Jackfruit isn’t the meat substitute it’s cracked up to be, at least not without help]

Make Ahead: The jalapeños can be fried an hour to two ahead of assembling the sandwiches.

Where to Buy: Canned green jackfruit is what you need to use here; it is available at some MOM's markets and at Asian markets.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • Two 14-ounce cans young green jackfruit packed in water or brine (not syrup; see headnote)
  • 1/4 cup barbecue seasoning blend (your favorite; see related recipe and NOTE)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic (garlic powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups canola oil, for frying
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch coins
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (your favorite)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 hamburger or brioche buns
  • Four 1-ounce slices provolone cheese
  • Flesh of 1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced

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Prepare the grill for indirect heat. If using a gas grill, turn the heat to high. Drain the chips and put them in a smoker box or foil packet poked with a few fork holes to release the smoke; set it between the grate and the briquettes, close to the flame. When you see smoke, reduce the heat to medium-high (450 degrees). Turn off the burners on one side.

If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them on one side of the grill. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand 6 inches above the coals for 4 or 5 seconds. Scatter the wood chips over the coals. Have a spray water bottle at hand for taming any flames.

While the coals are getting ready or the gas grill is preheating, drain and thoroughly rinse the jackfruit. Pat dry. Coat the jackfruit with the barbecue seasoning blend.

Whisk together the buttermilk and egg in a bowl. Whisk together the all-purpose flour, cornmeal, salt, granulated garlic, cayenne and black peppers in a separate bowl.

Line a plate with a few layers of paper towels.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.

Meanwhile, dip the jalapeño coins in the milk mixture and then lightly coat them in the flour mixture.

Once the oil shimmers, carefully drop the jalapeño coins one by one into the hot oil; fry for about 3 minutes or just until golden brown, turning them over as needed. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the lined plate to drain.

When the grill is ready and about a minute after you’ve added the wood chips, set the jackfruit on the indirect side of the fire. Close the lid and smoke the jackfruit for about 40 minutes, until the jackfruit has shrunk slightly and has browned lightly around the edges.

Transfer to a platter, then use two forks or your clean hands to pull apart the jackfruit. The yield is a bit more than 4 cups.

Transfer the jackfruit to a bowl and add the barbecue sauce, stirring to coat evenly. Cover loosely to keep warm.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat, then use it to brush the cut sides of the buns. Place them, buttered sides down, in the pan; toast them for a few minutes, until golden.

Arrange the toasted buns on a baking sheet. Distribute even amounts of the smoked, sauced jackfruit on the bottom buns. Top each one with a slice of the provolone. Place under the broiler or return to the grill and cover just long enough to melt the cheese.

Finish each sandwich with avocado slices, the fried jalapeño coins and the top buns.

NOTE: To make your own barbecue spice blend, combine 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon granulated garlic (garlic powder), 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe provided by Char Bar Smoked Meats & Amusements in Kansas City, Mo.

Tested by Andy Sikkenga.

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