5 Best Buns for Pulled Pork: Buying and Testing Them All

By Dylan Clay
Last Updated 
October 13, 2022

While something like a finishing sauce is common with pulled pork, something that's often overlooked are the buns.

In my opinion, the best buns for pulled pork are potato buns. If those aren't available to you, a brioche bun or sourdough bread are good alternatives.

If none of those are available to you, cheap hamburger buns will suffice.

The Best Buns for Pulled Pork

Unlike a lot of other guides on this topic, I physically bought every roll I'm about to talk about - as well as many more that I didn't deem worthy of this list.

best buns for pulled pork
Pulled pork on a Potato Bun

I then smoked a pork butt and used the pulled pork to make sandwiches with the bread. I then jotted down my thoughts and compared it to the opinions of my Friend's and Family.

After doing the above, I found that the best buns for pulled pork are:

  1. Potato buns
  2. Brioche buns
  3. Sourdough bread
  4. Kings Hawaiian sweet buns
  5. Cheap Hamburger buns

To preface this article: I love bread.

1. Potato Buns

In the world of bread, the Potato bun is truly an unsung hero.

potato bun side view

The biggest reason I prefer potato buns is because they work great for all types of meat. It holds the meat without losing integrity; It absorbs juices, but without becoming soggy.

If you're using a finishing sauce for your pork, this can be to your benefit.

Potato buns are also slightly sweet - which pairs wonderfully with pulled pork. Texturally, they also have a great springiness that other buns just lack.

Other buns also tend to dry out as they sit. Potato buns will stay nice and moist until folks are ready to load their rolls up with pork. This is due to the potato starch which absorbs more water than wheat starch - meaning a moist bun.

inside potato bun

For this same reason, any unused buns will also last longer without going stale.

Overall, Potato buns just work best for pulled pork - plain and simple.

2. Brioche Buns

In my opinion, brioche buns are somewhat overrated - a lot of people like to use them for hamburger buns, where-as I'd rather just use a Martin's Potato roll or a regular sesame seed bun.

brioche bun side view

The main ingredients used for Brioche buns are flour, milk, eggs, and sugar. Meaning, you get a bun that's eggy and sugary, which doesn't work well for a savory burger.

However, these factors pair wonderfully with pulled pork.

Just to sort of express what I mean by "sugary." Brioche buns are borderline associated with dessert:

  • It's been said that Marie Antoinette uttered: "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" or "Let them eat cake."
  • Brioche is also considered Viennoiseries or a breakfast pastry made in the style of Vienna, Austria.

More often than not, pulled pork is paired with a sweet dry rub featuring dark brown sugar or white sugar. The meat is then is further spritzed and wrapped with something sweet like apple juice or apple cider vinegar.

inside brioche bun

Meaning, brioche buns pair well with pulled pork.

Brioche buns are best described as light and airy with a flaky, brown crust.

Due to this internal texture, I personally wouldn't use a vinegar-based finishing sauce with a brioche bun and would rather use a molasses or mustard-based sauce instead (due to the potential for sogginess).

3. Sourdough Bread

Anytime I'm at a breakfast joint and they ask me "White, Wheat, or Sourdough [sometimes Rye]", I'll almost always say sourdough.

sourdough bread

While sourdough bread tastes similar to other yeasted bread, it has a slight tanginess that's super appetizing - however, this flavor is entirely dependent on how long the sourdough fermented for.

Usually the taste ranges from slightly sweet to very sour; I tend to fall in the middle and prefer a slight tanginess.

The reason the above is important is because the flavor pairs really well with pulled pork.

A traditional finishing sauce for a pulled pork sandwich is some form of acid - typically apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar combined with some form of heat - like hot sauce or cayenne.

You get tang from the vinegar and heat from the hot sauce, both of which compliment pulled pork.

To really build on this "tangy" flavor, you can use sourdough bread.

4. Kings Hawaiian Sweet Buns

My family has always used King's Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls for big events like Thanksgiving or Christmas. The rolls have a great balance of sweet flavor and texture - they have a flaky outside and a fluffy interior.

kings Hawaiian roll

While other types of Portuguese sweet bread exists, King's Hawaiian just seems to do it better.

While their dinner rolls can make for awesome pulled pork sliders, their buns work wonderfully for people with big appetites. The bun's circumference is the biggest on this list.

inside Kings Hawaiian roll

Similar to the other rolls, the sweet flavor also pairs well with the pulled pork.

5. Cheap Hamburger Buns

If all else fails, Grocery stores will always have a cheap hamburger bun that will work perfectly fine for pulled pork.

cheap hamburger bun

The biggest reason I'm not big on hamburger buns is simply because they're usually quite small. Once you load up a pulled pork sandwich with 1/4 lb of meat, you're then left trying to put pickles, red onions, coleslaw, etc. on the sandwich.

For someone like my Mom who's not big on messy eating, she'd rather just use plain white bread, which is also an option.

Dylan Clay
I've grilled and smoked meat for roughly half my life. While i'm not a professional Pitmaster, I've worked with nearly every cut of meat. Not everyone has a hands on guide to teach them BBQ. It's my hope that Barbecue FAQ can be that helping hand.

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