If I have a choice in condiment, I almost always pick BBQ sauce. It’s salty, sweet, sour and smokey. It covers all of my needs in one sauce. Unfortunately, most store bought varieties are loaded with corn syrup. Those that aren’t loaded with corn syrup don’t always deliver on flavor. But, it isn’t their fault. With regional differences across the U.S. about what makes a good BBQ sauce, it’s hard to please us all.
In today’s recipe, I layer a rich base of caramelized onions with pureed dates and finish it with notes of smoked paprika and liquid smoke. It makes the perfect homemade simmering sauce for slow cooked jackfruit. Enjoy on a bun or as an accompaniment to vegan grits and greens. However you do BBQ, make sure to savor every delicious bite!
Smokey Medjool Date BBQ Jackfruit
15 medjool dates, pits removed
½ large onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
2 ¾ cups water
1 Tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 ½ tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
½ tsp chili powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 14 ounce cans jackfruit, packed in water
1. Heat olive oil on med-high in dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot. Add onions and a dash of salt. Reduce to low for 30-40 minutes–stirring every 5-10 minutes. Towards the end of cooking, the onions will stick a bit to the bottom of the pot, but should be a deep golden brown.
2. Place caramelized onions, garlic cloves, pitted dates, tomato paste, 2¾ cup water, and soy sauce in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add a bit more water, if it gets to thick to blend. Pour mixture back into dutch oven. Add everything else listed in the recipe, except for the jackfruit. Simmer for 45 minutes covered. As it cooks down, the sauce will thicken. Taste and adjust for seasonings.
3. Drain jackfruit, and shred into a slow cooker. Pour sauce over jackfruit and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours, or HIGH for 3-4 hours. Serve on buns or solo with a side of vegan grits and greens.