The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Advice Needed: Best/ Unique Bread for Pulled Pork Sandwiches?

mizrachi's picture

Advice Needed: Best/ Unique Bread for Pulled Pork Sandwiches?

I've been enlisted to make the bread for pulled pork sandwiches.  My understanding is that hamburger buns are the usual roll, but as it's a special occasion I was thinking something else might work just as well if not better.  I'm not sure what might enhance these delicious homemade bbq sandwiches, or what flavors would work in with the bbq and coleslaw, but I'm open to any ideas you might have.





jleung's picture

I haven't tried these with pulled pork but they're supposed to be fantastic for pulled pork sandwiches:

and also here:

The recipe is from Mark (mcs) of The Back Home Bakery.

I should also say that they are GREAT rolls for pretty much anything you can think of. They have just a touch of sweetness and also don't taste "eggy." I can make close to two dozen for my labmates and they disappear by mid-morning; mind you, I don't even have that many labmates ha ha.

- Jackie

mizrachi's picture

I'm wondering if the weight and wetness of the pork and slaw might be too much for those rolls.  I've read a potato/onion roll might be a good substitute.  Also, I'm wondering how a sourdough roll might work. 

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Miz.

There are lots of possibilities for rolls, depending on what kind of roll you want.

If you want crusty rolls, I'd nominate a Kaiser roll. The same dough is used for onion rolls. On TFL, the onion roll formula posted by Norm Berg (nbicomputers) has been a great favorite. Here's a link for Onion/Kaiser rolls . Using onion rolls would certainly be interesting. Note that these stale quickly, but they freeze well. So, if you are not baking them the same day they are to be eaten, I'd wrap them in plasti-crap, put them in a plastic freezer bag and thaw them the day of the BBQ.

If you want a soft roll, I'd nominate another of Nom's formulas - the one for Double Knot Rolls

A fourth possibility would be to use the Sourdough Italian Rolls that many of us have enjoyed for meatball sandwiches.

Hmmm .... I'd have a hard time choosing which to use. I think I'd go with the onion rolls, though. 

Let us know what you end up making, post photos, and hold a sandwich for me!


Elagins's picture

This is also one of Norm (nbicomputers) recipes, which has pretty much replaced hamburger buns in my family and among all the friends I bake for. This is it, word for word:

sugar 2 oz or 1 oz sugar and 1 oz honey for better freshness
salt 1/4 oz
shortening or butter or some kind of fat 1 1/4 oz
skim milk powder 1oz
whole egg 2 oz (one large egg)
water 8 oz
patent (12.5% protein) bread flour 1 LB
fresh yeast 1oz or dry yeast 1/2 oz
one bulk rise and cut into 2.5-3 oz ( i get one dozen from

this formula cut down from the bakery size of course)
mix well in a KAid or other mixer this dough will take 15-20 minutes but will come clean from the mixer using a C dough hook hold back from adding extra flour just let the mixer work should be a soft dough like white pan bread

shape into knots (Note: a single overhand knot with one more overhand loop, so you have an end sticking out on both sides of the roll)

allow 3/4 proof before washing them with egg wash wait 2 minutes and wash with egg wash a second time (Note: they also are really good with either sesame or poppy seeds at this point) and bake at a low oven 350- 375- (about 15 minutes. I usually bake them on parchment, which simplifies handling)

do not allow full proof or the rolls will fall during washing and baking.

JavaGuy's picture

You have hit on the one, and only time, I go with plain, store bought hamburger buns. I grew up eating southern BBQ and it is always served with plain white bread.

It actually seems like a good choice pulled pork. It is usually a tender and spicy meat. A hard crust will cause the pork to squirt out the sides and a bread with a lot of flavour may not work with the sauce you like.

That being said, I hearby promise to never again recommend store bought bread. (Please don't revoke my membership!  :)  )

crunchy's picture

They're easy to make, will not have a thick crust, and are better than store-bought.

ClimbHi's picture

We love pulled pork and make it in 10-lb batches so we always have some on hand in the freezer. (We prefer the non-vinegar variety.) I like to make whole wheat buns with maybe some oatmeal and/or sunflour seeds added to give them a bit more "substance".

But something that's really nice for parties is to use whole wheat tortillas and make wraps. We get the oblong-shaped ones, load a bunch of PP in one end & wrap it up. Slice diagonally in the center to make two wraps. Makes for a delicious, one-handed PP "sandwich" that is quick to put together and easy to serve and eat, even if one of your hands is dedicated to holding your beverage of choice. ;-)

brakeforbread's picture

Make rolls out of Jason's Quick Ciabatta. Not too crusty, lots of nooks and crannies to fill up with BBQ sauce. I think I just convinced myself to do this next time instead of the usual homemade hamburger buns.

deblacksmith's picture

I use the same dough for Pizza, Ciabatta and also make "hamburger" buns with this dough.  It is typical high hydration dough (77 to 79 percent) and we love it for all three uses.

The difference is how I handle the dough following the bulk fermentation.  With the Ciabatta I am very gentle and really try to not to degas at all.  I shape into a large "slab" and cut to size and then final proof.  With the buns, I divide the dough into 80-gram pieces and then form into small ball, rest, and then flatten.  They then go in my bun pan.  The crumb of the buns is somewhat open, but not like the wide-open Ciabatta.  They are great.  We often toast them for burgers and BBQ.


davidg618's picture

I serve it sometimes with sourdough rolls (hamburger roll size). I make a firm white sourdough with AP flour, roll it out to 1/2 inch thickness, and cut them with my largest biscuit cutter (about 3 in. dia.). They proof to about 4 inches, and most of the ovenspring goes up. I bake at relatively low temperature (350°F) which gives them a soft crust. The AP flour, stiffness and rolling yields a closed, soft crumb.

I also serve it sometimes on bakery bought Kiaser rolls, when I don't have time to bake.

But my personal favorite is foccacia, topped with olive oil and course salt only, cut into sandwich size squares, and sliced in half horizontally.

I offer my guests my homemade BB-que sauce, and a Carolina vinegar based sauce, nothing else.

I serve it always with traditional cole slaw, and sometimes corn-on-the-cob, baked beans, and/or steamed spinich dressed with a hint of balsamic vinegar.

When I eat out, and order pulled-pork (rarely), I leave the traditional, tastless white bread on the plate, and just eat the pork.

David G

jannrn's picture

As a Southerner who grew up eating Pulled Pork (or just Bar-B-Que as we call it) I vote for the Portugese Sweet Bread for Buns....if you let them proof really well, they will rise well enough to catch that BBQ sauce whether it is the traditional tomato based, or the Eastern NC Vinegar based. Either way, I think it would be AMAZINGLY delicious!!!

Please post and let us know what you choose! I would LOVE to see pictures!!

MommaT's picture


Having used these successfully for sloppy joes at last night's supper, I can highly recommend scali rolls.

I portioned 4 oz rolls from the KA website scali recipe that's been floating around lately, formed them round and covered liberally with sesame seeds on top.

The end result was a roll with good taste and with a decent, but not too chewy crust.  The insides have plenty of nooks and crannies for holding all the great juices, but the exterior of the roll is substantial enough that it doesn't fall apart when it gets wet.  

I am frequently concerned about using crusty bread for sandwiches for my kids, but if it's any measure my 3 year old ate the sloppy joes last night without being...well...too sloppy!

Please note that I make these with my wild yeast starter, modified to the correct hydration and not the starter as prepared in the recipe.


BTW, I increased the scali bread by 1.5 times and made a slightly smaller loaf (1 lb) and 4 - 4 oz rolls.  The loaf fits in a gallon freezer bag this way.



SylviaH's picture

I also love this recipe for rolls.  As stated earlier in this post.  'You bite into the sandwich without the meat coming out the sides of sandwich' something like that!  I can just see your 3 yr. old enjoying that sloppy joe!