A sandwich is arguably the best culinary invention ever. There are so many different options from flavor profile to build to cuisine; an endless amount of possibilities and never enough time to try them all.
One of our favorite sandwiches of all time is a pulled pork sandwich, but pulled pork isn’t just pulled pork anymore. There have been so many debates regarding pulled pork sandwiches such as “Which flavor combinations are the best?”, “Which meat will make the best sandwich?”, however, with these questions, a much more important one surfaced;
Which bread or buns are the best to use for pulled pork sandwiches? For traditional pulled pork sandwiches, we recommend using brioche or kaiser rolls since they are soft and fluffy, making them perfect for biting into. If you are making open-faced pulled pork sandwiches, opt for ciabatta or sourdough since they are thicker and chewier, so a single slice can hold plenty of pulled pork without falling apart or becoming mushy.
In this article, we will discuss the different factors to take into consideration when choosing a type of bread and why certain of them work better than others for pulled pork sandwiches.
Classic Ingredients For Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Before looking at which bread or buns are the best for pulled pork sandwiches, it is important to understand why this is such an important question.
As with many classic dishes, the pulled pork sandwich has evolved into much more than a sandwich. Global trends and the rise in fusion cuisine and artisanal foods have allowed us to create culinary masterpieces from once humble dishes.
Over the last couple of years, there has been a massive spike in new flavor combinations being used outside of the fine-dining world. New ingredients were being used and old ingredients were being used in new ways.
Once you change one thing in a classic dish, other ingredients will be affected too.
For example, once you start using chunkier pieces of pulled pork, you might not want to use a thick and chewy piece of bread to serve it on.
Another example is that as soon as you use spicier flavors for your pulled pork, you need to choose a very easy-eating bun. The same goes for when you are using a very neutral-flavored pork filling, you might want to use a more flavorful bread.
There are so many factors to take into consideration when choosing the best type of bread or bun to create the ultimate pulled pork sandwich.
Another big factor to take into consideration is the function of the bread. If you are making a very saucy pork filling, you need to choose a bread that will allow you to absorb all the sauces while not falling apart.
If you are making an open-faced pulled pork sandwich, you also need a thick piece of bread that will hold all the weight of the filling without breaking or becoming mush.
What Kind of Bread Is Used For Pulled Pork Sandwiches?
As we have briefly mentioned before, the type of bread or bun you need depends on the type of filling you use and how you plan on serving your sandwich.
In general, if you are making a sandwich (not an open-faced sandwich) you want to choose a softer roll that can still hold a good amount of filling and sauce without disintegrating.
For open-faced sandwiches, you want to use a toasted slice of bread with a lot of structure to hold the weight of the filling.
We will have a look at the best options of bread to use for pulled pork sandwiches and how each of them is best used.
Brioche buns are a type of enriched bread that can be made in many different sizes.
They are usually the size of an average hamburger bun, but can also be found in slider sizes (mini-hamburger buns).
They have a very buttery and sometimes semi-sweet flavor profile which will go perfect with any salty and meaty pulled pork filling.
These buns can also absorb a lot of juices or sauces of the filling and are very soft, making it very easy to handle and eat.
Brioche buns will be best used for pulled pork sandwiches like:
- Beer and bourbon pulled pork sandwich
- Classic barbeque and coleslaw pulled pork sandwich
Brioche buns are arguably the best type of bread to use for a pulled pork sandwich due to its neutral flavor and usability factor.
For those of you who love crispy rolls, a Kaiser roll is the best one you can choose.
The reason being that while it is still crispy on the outside, it is nice and fluffy on the inside, which still makes it easier to eat than a chewier roll.
Kaiser rolls also have a very neutral flavor which makes it perfect for virtually any type of pulled pork filling flavor.
Due to its crispy exterior, these rolls will work great if you are planning on stuffing it! If you were to use a softer roll, like a Portuguese roll or a brioche roll, you wouldn’t be able to grab and eat the sandwich with ease, while this Kaiser roll provides you the structure that you need.
Kaiser rolls will be best used for sandwiches like:
- The ultimate honey-mustard and barbeque pulled pork sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and avocado
- Pulled pork breakfast sandwich with bacon, eggs, and aged cheddar cheese
Ciabatta is an Italian bread that typically comes on almost square-like loaves.
This is a very unique tasting loaf that still has a lot of flavor and texture.
The outside (crust) of the loaf is very crispy while the inside is very chewy but still airy and soft.
This makes a nice 1 – 1 ½ inch ciabatta slice the perfect bread to use for any open-faced pulled pork sandwiches. The slice should be toasted to give even more structure to the piece of bread and be able to hold the weight of the filling.
However, an untoasted slice of ciabatta will be able to hold much more sauce but might become very soggy and mush.
You could also use two ciabatta slices to create a normal sandwich, however, it might be difficult to bite through due to the chewiness of the bread.
You could even use a whole ciabatta loaf to make a massive pulled pork sandwich for fun party meals.
Ciabatta slices will be best used for sandwiches like:
- Barbeque open-faced pulled pork sandwich with poached eggs and microgreens
- Pulled pork and fig jam open-faced sandwich
Sourdough bread is a very flavorful and sour-tasting bread that is made by naturally fermenting a flour-based batter.
This bread makes excellent open-faced sandwich slices as they are crispy, chewy and will only add a ton of flavor.
We would again recommend toasting 1 – 1 ½ inch slices to hold more of the filling, however untoasted slices will also work and will absorb a lot of liquids.
These slices can also be used to create a normal sandwich or you can use the whole loaf to create one massive one.
Sourdough buns are also becoming more and more popular, so feel free to give them a try and let us know what you think!
Sourdough slices will be best used for sandwiches like:
- Grilled pulled pork and cheese sandwich
- Slow cooker ranch barbeque pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and microgreens
A lot of people overlook flatbreads when it comes to sandwiches.
This is surprising as flatbreads are some of the tastiest and most versatile breads you could possibly get.
Naan bread specifically is a large oblong leavened bread that is used a lot in Asian countries such as India and Indonesia.
Of course, it is now very popular and often used in other cuisines as well.
Naan can be used to create an open-faced sandwich, a pizza, a wrap, or a pita-like pulled pork sandwich. All these options from a single type of bread.
Naan is extremely easy to make and can be made by just using self-raising flour and yogurt.
You can also buy flavored naan that has tons of delicious garlic to add even more flavor to your pork. The naan bread can also be toasted to create a crispier version so you can use it for whatever you want.
Using naan bread for pulled pork is obviously not a traditional pulled pork sandwich, however, a couple of years ago neither was the open-faced version. We are here to push boundaries and imagination to discover amazing culinary creations.
Naan will be best used for sandwiches like:
- Pulled pork naan fold with delicious cream cheese and salsa
- Stuffed naan with classic pulled pork and onion crisps
- Southwest chipotle pulled pork open-faced naan sandwich
The Best Buns For Pulled Pork [Chart]
|Type of bread||Best for||Sandwich ideas|
|Brioche rolls||These rolls are ideal for medium-saucy fillings and sandwiches meant to be eaten with your hands (like hamburgers|| Beer and bourbon pulled pork sandwich |
Classic barbeque and coleslaw pulled pork sandwich
These are perfect for very saucy fillings. It will hold a lot of the sauce without becoming mushy very fast.
And the crispy outer layers makes handling the sandwich a lot easier.
The ultimate honey-mustard and barbeque pulled pork sandwich with lettuce, tomato and avocado
Pulled pork breakfast sandwich with bacon, eggs and mature cheddar cheese
These are perfect for open-faced sandwiches and can be used toasted or untoasted.
Untoasted you can use the bread to absorb the sauces and create even more flavor.
Barbeque open-faced pulled pork sandwich with poached eggs and microgreens
Pulled pork and fig jam open-faced sandwich
These slices are chewy and very flavorful that will take your open-faced sandwich to the next level.
They have a thick crispy crust and airy center that will absorb a ton of juices from your filling.
Grilled pulled pork and cheese sandwich
Slow cooker ranch barbeque pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and microgreens
Using naan bread to create your sandwich will allow you to make many different creations literally using the same filling.
The way you serve it (for example stuffing the naan bread) will make it easier and less messy to eat.
Pulled pork naan fold with delicious cream cheese and salsa
Stuffed naan with classic pulled pork and onion crisps
Southwest chipotle pulled pork open-faced naan sandwich
Should I Toast Bread For Pulled Pork?
We believe that if you are making a pulled pork sandwich using buns (so essentially making a pulled pork hamburger), your buns should always be toasted.
Toasted buns prevent the crumb (inside of the bun) from absorbing too much moisture from the sauce and juices of the filling. It also creates a nice, soft crisp, and by toasting your buns in butter, also adds extra richness and flavor.
If you are making an open-faced sandwich, it is entirely up to your preference. On the one hand, if you use untoasted buns, they might absorb too much liquid depending on the filling and become mushy. They also might not be able to hold the weight of the filling if picked up.
On the other hand, a toasted bun could be hard to bite through and make the crumb very chewy, all-in-all creating an unpleasant experience.
Have a look at your filling and how you intend to eat the open-faced sandwich (by hand or with cutlery) and make a judgment call – even if your decision didn’t work, you can only learn from it and move on.
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