If you are alive and breathing, you know that right now is the height of football season in the United States. And, football is a big, doggone deal around these parts. There are longstanding team rivalries on the field…. think Carolina vs. Duke in the fierce Tobacco Road rivalry. Personally, I bleed Carolina blue! On the other hand, my hubby dear sports his North Carolina Central University Eagle attire no matter who is playing. As much as I love my University of North Carolina Tarheels, I also love the time-worn tradition of tailgating on game day.
Truth be told, I don’t really understand the actual game of football. But, I cheer as loud as the next guy. I will always be the first person to root for my team but my favorite part of game day is the action and excitement that takes place off the field, outside the stadium and in the parking lot. I’m talking about tailgating! On any given game day, you can count on good friends and great food if you stop by our tailgate. There ain’t no party like a tailgate party ’cause a tailgate party don’t stop!
Tailgating is the perfect excuse to get the party started before the first snap of the football. Die hard fans love a good tailgate party. Good friends! Great food! Good times! What more could you want?
It’s believed that the very first tailgate party took place during the start of the Civil War. Strange though it may seem, civilians sat on the sidelines of the Battle of Bull Run in 1861. Picnic baskets in hand, these people cheered on their “team” from the sidelines. Yeah, strange, I know. But,nevertheless, these early tailgaters took their party seriously.
Modern day tailgaters no longer have to dodge bullets on the battle sidelines. But, we’re still stone cold serious about our tailgate food! For me, the main event of a great tailgate party is food. It’s all about the food!
So, starting today, I want to share with you three of my favorite tailgate meals….all plant-based of course!
First up at the Tailgate Party:
Pulled Jackfruit Barbeque.
Now, you can’t truly lay claim to tailgating in the South unless you have some barbeque among your offerings. So, I always have some delicious Jackfruit Barbeque at my tailgate party. In my humble opinion, this Pulled Jackfruit Barbeque can go up against animal-based barbeque (whether pork, chicken or beef) and win hands down in flavor every single time! It’s smoky, juicy and got just enough of a peppery bite to make you sit up and pay attention!Print
Pulled Jackfruit Barbeque
- Yield: Serves 4-6 persons
- 2 (20 ounce) cans jackfruit, in brine NOT IN SYRUP
- 1 medium white or yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 -2 tsp Barbeque Rub seasoning (either purchased or use this classic BBQ rub recipe from Vegetarian Times)
- 3/4 – 1 cup Barbeque Sauce (Because I didn’t have any homemade sauce on hand I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Original. It doesn’t contain honey like some other store bought sauces. But, be aware that it does contain high fructose corn syrup. If you really want to do this the right way, make your own sauce. I like the sauce recipe by Simply Scratch. Of course, I use a vegan worcestershire sauce to make it. It tastes a lot like Sweet Baby Ray’s but doesn’t contain that troublesome high fructose corn syrup.)
- 1 tsp. liquid smoke
- 2 TB. Apple Cider Vinegar
- Salt and crushed red pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Drain and rinse jackfruit to remove salt and brine. Squeeze out any excess water. Break up with fingers or a fork into strips.
- Cut onion in half and finely slice.
- Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 TB olive oil. When oil is hot, add onion, lower heat to medium-low, and cook for 15-20 minutes until onion is soft and caramelized. Stir frequently.
- Add garlic and jackfruit to caramelized onions. Stir to combine. Sprinkle with Barbeque Rub. Stir and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
- Add barbeque sauce, liquid smoke and vinegar. Stir well to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired. Put mixture into ovenproof casserole dish and cover tightly with foil. Put mixture into preheated oven and cook for 45 minutes. (Check occasionally to ensure that your ‘cue isn’t sticking, burning or drying out. Add more sauce or a bit of water as needed.)
- Remove from oven and let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Dig in! Perfect for your next tailgate party or backyard barbeque!