Traditionally, po’ boy sandwiches are made with fried seafood or meat. But at the Welcome Diner, chef/owner Michael Babcock whips up a pulled jackfruit po’ boy ($7) that fools even the most discerning carnivores.
Native to Southeast Asia, jackfruit grows in tropical regions from India to Jamaica and when cooked, has the texture of a roasted turnip. Babcock buys the jackfruit in brine and gives it a dry rub with Cajun spices, cumin and salt and pepper. Next, he sears it and then braises it for two hours in Four Peaks Brewing Company Kilt Lifter ale, caramelized onions and liquid amino acids (a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce) until the fruit is beer-tickled to perfection. After braising, the tender jackfruit is “pulled” into shreds and bite-size chunks.
Served with Babcock’s mustard-laced Carolina-style barbecue sauce, the po’ boy is topped with a vinegar-based shredded red cabbage slaw and placed on a freshly toasted baguette from local MJ Bakery. “We send it out to guests and they’ll say, ‘Excuse me. I didn’t order pork. I’m a vegetarian,’” according to general manager and part-time cook Wayne Coats. “It’s really a magical fruit. It has a lot of flavor for a vegan dish.”
For vegetarians, the diner will make the po’ boy with a slice of cheddar cheese and the jackfruit mix can be served over house-made French fries for vegetarians and vegans alike.
924 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix
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