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What are the Best Buns For Pulled Pork?

  • z

I'm looking for the best hamburger style buns for Carolina style pulled pork barbecue. I haven't been satisfied with my grocery store brand buns that turn to mush when the sauce gets to them.

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  1. Purists opt for cheap hamburger buns but I always go for Kaiser rolls. They tend to be slightly bigger than regular hamburger buns so I can pile on extra pork and sauce without worrying about them falling apart.

    2 Replies
    1. re: CDouglas

      Really, you don't want the bread to be the star. Down here (in NC, that is) the buns of choice are either Sunshine or Merita hamburger buns. That's the slightly sweet, squishy white-bread-like stuff that you might otherwise be embarrassed to serve to your guests.

      If you really feel that you can't do the squishy stuff then Kaiser rolls that aren't too crusty could work. It's not authentic, but if you like it, go for it. Just don't tell anyone down here I said so. I could have my Southern citizenship revoked.

      1. re: rockycat

        Seconded, although if there's enough sauce to turn the bread to mush, we've already chucked authenticity out the window.

    2. I'm in the Kaiser roll camp also; the bigger, the firmer, the better, but I do recognize and appreciate the soft squishy hamburger buns that are the usual offering.

      1. Are you interested in making your own? King Arthur has a great recipe on their site that is super easy and turns out my favorite buns for pulled pork. Even if you don't bake you can make them, and extras can hang out in the freezer. I too hate regular buns that disintegrate, but I still love a plain soft bun (just home made).

            1. re: jnk

              +1 ~ A better size for me than Kaiser rolls, a better texture than the standard soft hamburger buns that stands up better to the sauce.

              1. re: Terrie H.

                Defintiely Martins, and now they make slider side which are fun too.

                1. re: coll

                  Oops was supposed to be slider SIZE, sorry.

                  1. re: coll

                    Quaditto on the Martins. Better texture than your average hamburger bun.

            2. I'm in the kaiser roll camp as well. For me, the hamburger buns are too soft and floppy. I need the bread to have more structure to stand up to all the meat. :)

              1. Get yourself some Rhodes Texas style frozen dinner roll dough, let them thaw/proof in a covered high walled greased baking pan, let them proof until about 4" across, Takes about 4/5 hours. Bake at 375* for about 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Fresh, delicious, almost homade, cheap, good for anything you want to put on a bun!

                  1. re: john redcorn


                    I was going to suggest those and/or Onion Rolls. Either (or BOTH) would be fantastic!

                  2. I'm with you, I didn't want a too soft bun and I wanted large buns. So I made my own. I make my sauce, and all the rest when it comes to pulled pork sandwiches. My hubby is from Virginia and really liked that I made the gigantic buns, it held the coleslaw and pork nicely.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      Are those the King Arthur Flour Kaisers I read of today (from BabsW)? I never even considered making my own till I read her post earlier. It doesn't look too difficult--you can even make the dough in a bread machine! Agree, you want something that can stand up to the ingredients without getting all mushade...

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        Yep, it is really easy and worth it to make them yourself. :)

                        1. re: kattyeyes

                          No these if I remember are from the Baker's Apprentice. Easy, just a bit time consuming, a simple white hamburger/hot dog bun recipe, made from a sponge, made extra large.
                          sponge 1 hr
                          make the dough 30 mins
                          rise 1 1/2 hrs divide the dough and roll 30 mins
                          rise again 90 mins
                          bake 35-45 mins depending on size
                          start early!

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            No, the recipe is from Baker's Apprentice and pretty time consuming. I thought they were excellent though. I was pooped after making all of this on the same day!
                            Sponge takes an hour - the dough 30 mins rise 11/2 hours
                            divide and shape the rolls 30 mins
                            rise again 90 mins
                            bake 35 -45 mins (depends on the size)

                        2. I love King's Hawaiian rolls with pulled pork.

                          1. I'm inclined to like small, firm buns no pun intended- I don't like it when they fall apart or are so big they flop over when you pick them up. They do need to be non whole grain, though, only white bread for pulled pork for me.

                            1. Portuguese rolls if you can find them. They are the BEST blank canvas for your pulled pork. These rolls are light and airy and have a crust that has a perfect chew and that can hold up to any of your sauces. IMO, perfect for what you need.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: Cheese Boy

                                The worst you can get. Won.... bread. It's just there to hold the meat and kinda keep your fingers clean.

                                1. re: emglow101

                                  The OP specifically has asked for the BEST bread for pulled pork,
                                  and yet you reply with the WORST. Why did you attach your reply to mine ?

                                  1. re: Cheese Boy

                                    IMO, I like the cheapest buns, Oh I called them the worst, sorry. I do not like a bunch of bread with my pulled pork . This reply was not aimed at you. Otherwise get some italian bread.

                                2. re: Cheese Boy

                                  These are excellent, I agree, I buy these when I'm not in the mood to bake my own. Very reasonably priced too.

                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                    Most of the Portuguese rolls we get here in NYC come from Teixeira's Bakery in Newark, NJ. Typically we get them three for $1. Great price, great quality.

                                    1. re: Cheese Boy

                                      Yes that what they go for here in CA. We have a fair sized Portuguese community. I use them for deli sandwiches. They bring them in fresh daily and I keep waiting for the prices to go up... just like everything else. We have the rounds and the torpedoes, perfect for French Dips.

                                  2. re: Cheese Boy

                                    Oh, I miss portuguese rolls! I grew up in CT, and the stores always had them. Here in central NY, they're not as common.

                                  3. personally, I've always gone with the standard HB bun, 1 - because I don't use too much sauce, 2 - I think some kind of fufu artisan roll is out of place with my humble smoked butt. the port roll seems like a good trade-up tho to avoid the mush factor

                                    1. I like the cheap small hamburger buns also. I am a Kentucky girl and we don't sauce up our BBQ - but what about serving the sauce on the side so the meat itself is not so wet.

                                      1. I've always thought Venezuelan-style arepas would be good but haven't actually experimented.

                                        1. This may not be an appropriate response as it's not a roll, but we always eat pulled pork on Texas toast. It supports the pork and coleslaw wonderfully, and my southern-born husband swears that this is the only way to eat it. Not at all healthy, but very tasty!

                                          1. If you can find some bollilos, Mexican eyeball-shaped rolls that are the best things ever. It's pronounced bo-LEE-yos, and if you can find them they're great for that application.

                                            1. Not so much the buns as it is for good slaw.
                                              Good cabbage, well grated, melds with the pork.

                                              I take as my mater loved Allen and sons
                                              close by to Chapel Hill, North Carolina,
                                              with long logs of hickory mixing with gravel
                                              in their parking lot.

                                              Buns were unknown,
                                              but they came from an eight-pack.
                                              But the 'cue and the cabbage uptrumped the buns.

                                              Pork with good pull and hard bark
                                              stands free from the bun
                                              and beckons to good grated cabbage.

                                              Also it helps to hear good simple grunts
                                              of splitting of hickory
                                              that make forth the fire.