5 Pulled Pork Alternatives (That Actually Taste Like The Real Thing!)

Pulled pork is great for burgers, rolls, tacos, sandwiches and so much more. But what if looking for a way to cut back on meat without sacrificing the great taste or texture.

Read on – we have some great alternatives to pulled pork that taste and smell just like the real thing!

What Makes Pulled Pork So Good?

Everyone loves the smokey flavor and fork-tender texture of pulled pork! We recommend using pork butt or shoulder to make it.

But if you don’t eat meat, don’t have the right cut or don’t have time to slow cook. Don’t worry a similar taste and texture can be achieved without using pork!

What Are The Alternatives?

Replicating the deliciousness of pulled pork is surprisingly easy and can be done with other cuts of meat or completely plant-based.

Other Meat Subsitututes for Pulled Pork

If you are just after an alternative to pork, then chicken or smoked beef brisket can be a great option.

A chuck or shoulder slow-cooked and smoked then shredded will give the same effect.

The thigh can also be a similar texture to pork, but steer clear of breast or legs as they tend to be a bit stringy and dry.

Simply slow cook and smoke and mix with your preferred sauces to taste.

Don’t Have Pork Butt? Try Pork Loin

Most recipes will advise using pork butt as it has a lot of connective tissue it in. However, you can use do smoked pork loin for pulled pork just make sure you smoke the pork to an internal temperature of 204°F. That way it will shred perfectly.

Vegetarian and Vegan Alternatives for Pulled Pork

There are quite a few plant-based alternatives to pulled pork that are just as enjoyable as the original. 


Jackfruit, when barbequed, has a texture, taste, and appearance that is incredibly similar to real meat.

Jackfruit is a large robust tree-borne fruit from South America and Southeast Asia, that tastes like a mix of pineapple and pear when raw.

But develops a savory texture when cooked. Making it the perfect pork substitute. 

Once cooked, the fibers of the fruit are similar to those of meat. It’s a much cheaper and healthier pork substitute and can be made into a pulled pork meal in under an hour. Environmentally, jackfruit is naturally drought and pest resistant, very easy to grow, and are high-yielding.

Canned jackfruit is now readily available, but make sure you buy the jackfruit in water rather than syrup as it can become quite sweet when reduced down.

Fresh jackfruit can be found in most Asian market stores.

Nutritionally, they are full of fiber, low in calories, high in potassium and Vitamin A and C. They are however low in proteins, so not a good protein replacement.


Lentils and beans are packed with protein and fibers and are a great source of alternative proteins.  

Lentils infused with the smoky BBQ flavor of the sauce, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and raw sugar create a fabulously tasty meal.

Add some shredded carrot for a crunchy stringy texture and you’ve got a protein-packed, healthy alternative.

Banana Skins

Banana skins are making a bit of a splash on the food scene as a meat alternative, although they have been around as a food source for some time.

Organic banana peels are rich in nutrients such as Vitamins A, B6, B12, potassium, magnesium, and amino acids.

The pulp of the banana is soft and sweet, but the peel is thick, stringy, and green bananas are a little bitter tasting. Obviously, the older the fruit, the softer and sweeter the peel.

To turn into a pulled pork alternative, wash the skin and scrape to remove the soft insides. With a knife or fork shred the skin into strings and stew down with onions and garlic over medium heat for 10-12 minutes.


If the thought of fruit as a meat substitute doesn’t leave you inspired, mushrooms make an excellent pulled pork replacement. Portobello, Shiitake or King Oyster mushrooms are the best varieties to use.

Mushrooms are high in vitamin B and antioxidants and have a lovely earthy flavor that can be enhanced with the same ingredients as your favorite pulled pork recipe. to give a similar effect as jackfruit.

Jack Fruit Pulled Pork Recipe

Preparation time: 20-25 minutes

Cooking time: 8-10 minutes

Serves: 2


3/4 cup BBQ Sauce 

1 tbsp Mustard Sauce

1 teaspoon pepper

2/3 cup Water

2 cans Jackfruit

4 Buns

Coleslaw cabbage (Optional, but recommended)

Mayonnaise, cheese, lettuce, onions, or any other toppings of your choice 


  1. Strain the canned jackfruit and rinse it well
  2. Using a knife and fork, shred the jackfruit into thin threads
  3. Add the BBQ sauce and other flavorings to a pan and let it heat at low-medium heat.
  4. Add the shredded jackfruit to the sauce and stir it until the moisture reduces down – approximately 10-15 minutes.


  1. Toast the buns
  2. Add the cooked jackfruit on one bun
  3. Add the mustard, cheese, coleslaw cabbage, and your choice of toppings
  4. Place the other bun on top.
  5. Enjoy!

Be sure to devour this sandwich while it’s hot.

What’s your favorite substitute for pulled pork?

Smoke On!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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