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Optimal BBQ bun?


jackal10
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For this year's Apple Pressing party, since I've now figured out how to smoke in the bread oven, I thought I would do some BBQ - pulled pork and beef brisket, as well as lots of other stuff. Feeding about 120 people.

Doing the meats is no problem, nor is the coleslaw. However what has me stumped, not being native to where these are served, is what sort of bun to serve it in. I wil, of course be making these from scratch, probably sourdough.

White or wholemeal?

Soft or crusty?

Seeded or plain?

Milk, butter, egg or sugar in the dough?

Shape? Round, flat, long, or a section of baguette?

and most imprtantly, size?

My current inclination is to serve a mix of white and wholemeal buns of different sizes, with a flour crust.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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I use a traditional bun recipe from King Arthur. White flour, egg, butter. They are beautiful and delicious. I think they are perfect for pulled pork with a little vinegary coleslaw on top.

I think a soft bun is important. Crusty bread would make it too easy for the pulled pork to ease out.

Whole wheat might be nice as an alternate option.

Edited to add:

I think the shape should be round, with a 4-41/4 inch diameter.

Sesame seeds are good on this kind of bun as well. I would do some of both.

I also include 1/4 cup of sugar in my recipe.

Edited by Becca Porter (log)

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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Becca is right on, I think. Perhaps fifi and Varmint will weigh in with their opinions.

In general, when I've had it on buns, the flour is quite refined. This is not the time for a chewy or crispy crust, nor is the time for unrefined whole grains.

Don't forget to serve =Mark's South Carolina Mustard Barbeque Sauce and cole slaw!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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The optimal BBQ bun is a cheap hamburger bun of the Wonder Bread type. Any better bread is a distraction from the meat itself.

Well, sort of...... fancy bread is definitely out of line but home-made burger buns beat out Wonder bread in my humble opinion. I make my dough in the bread machine and bake the buns in the oven and they get thumbs up from all of my family and friends.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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The optimal BBQ bun is a cheap hamburger bun of the Wonder Bread type. Any better bread is a distraction from the meat itself.

Squishy would be a good term, and a valuable bun for pulled meat.

Definitely should be squishy and of the refined flour type.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Perhaps fifi and Varmint will weigh in with their opinions.

Varmint is distinctly anti-bun and a Carolina BBQ purist. In fact he considers buns to be downright touristy and Yankee-like. I asked him about who was bringing the buns to the Pig Pickin', and he told me nobody was and there was to be no buns served with his 'q, period.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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The optimal BBQ bun is a cheap hamburger bun of the Wonder Bread type. Any better bread is a distraction from the meat itself.

Squishy would be a good term, and a valuable bun for pulled meat.

Definitely should be squishy and of the refined flour type.

Nerf-like, so that the harder you throw them the less far they go. Sort of like Ben Affleck's career.

Foam buns should also be reserved for those college dinners when the speaker is even remotely controversial. You've been there--when the cubed sugar and candlesticks are also removed from the tables.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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The optimal BBQ bun is a cheap hamburger bun of the Wonder Bread type. Any better bread is a distraction from the meat itself.

The esteemed Mr. Perlow is 100% correct. If you go to a real BBQ place you are most likely getting two slices of white bread. Soft and squishy is authentic.

And Varmit is right not buns at all for real Q

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I'm not anti-bun at all. In fact, I like a good barbecue sandwich, with a bit of slaw on that soft, fluffy bun. That's how you can eat barbecue while driving, of course! However, buns are not served at a pig pickin', as barbecue plates are what's eaten -- big mound of barbecue surrounded by side dishes.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Perhaps fifi and Varmint will weigh in with their opinions.

Varmint is distinctly anti-bun and a Carolina BBQ purist. In fact he considers buns to be downright touristy and Yankee-like. I asked him about who was bringing the buns to the Pig Pickin', and he told me nobody was and there was to be no buns served with his 'q, period.

sounds like a line from the movie Sideways: "if anybody orders &$%# merlot, I'm leaving!"

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There will, of course be squishy pan de mie (tin white bread) available, Baguettes for those who want, and to go wiith the cheeses, the pates etc. Chocolate bread by special request. Pizza ia the main atttraction, everything else is side show, but I can probably use the same dough for pizza as the white rolls, although I do like the suggestion of potato bread.

What does a hamburger bun weigh? Size? 80gm/3 oz? Or would smaller be more attactive, bearing in mind the Q it is part of a much larger buffet, and will be replaced, as the afternoon goes on by rare roast beef

I'm allowing 15Kgs/35lbs meat (raw before BBQ) for about 150 people, with the usual proportion of kids, say about a third. I'll also BBQ a turducken...

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If you're planning to skip over any sort of regional fidelity and go with what tastes best with barbecue, I strongly second the potato roll suggestion. Martin's potato rolls, from Pennsylvania, make for better eating than any bread I've had with barbecue in the South. I simply can't endorse the notion that bad bread should be served with anything, no less barbecue. I rarely get barbecue sandwiches in the South, not because I don't approve of them but, rather, because the bread is so uniformly awful -- and of course when given the choice with a plate I take hush puppies over rolls. But I do agree with the soft-texture school of thought. Potato bread is the best of the soft-textured breads, in my opinion. Also good with barbecue are brioche and challah.

A Martin's sandwich potato roll is 1.9 oz.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Well, Martin's (click for Web site) are certainly not easily obtainable in the UK, or outside the New York/NJ/Pennsylvania and Northeast Corridor area, but yes, its an excellent vehicle for 'Q. :laugh:

These are photos of Dinosaur BBQ (NYC) sandwiches from the Big Apple BBQ Block Party in NYC that was held in early June from this year:

gallery_2_0_34550.jpg

gallery_2_0_31240.jpg

and these are from Ed Mitchell, from South Carolina, from the same event:

gallery_2_0_93716.jpg

gallery_2_0_76800.jpg

and Big Bob Gibson BBQ, from Alabama:

gallery_2_0_56752.jpg

If I'm not mistaken the rolls that were used at all the vendors selling BBQ sandwiches were Martin's.

Elgin BBQ, from Texas, also used Martin's at the event, but they used the sliced potato bread:

gallery_2_0_76236.jpg

as did Smoki' O's BBQ, from St. Louis, for their pig snoots:

gallery_2_0_49856.jpg

as did Salt Lick, from Driftwood, Texas:

gallery_2_0_19301.jpg

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I haven't made these myself, but a lot of people swear that these Moomie's buns are the best that you can make at home. I think I'd make this recipe myself, if I were trying to make BBQ buns at home.

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Let us not forget that, also, White Manna in Hoboken, NJ, home of one of the world's greatest hamburgers, uses Martin's potato rolls (in the mini size). I can't imagine they'd be terribly hard to replicate, not that I know how.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I haven't made these myself, but a lot of people swear that these Moomie's buns are the best that you can make at home.  I think I'd make this recipe myself, if I were trying to make BBQ buns at home.

That's the one I use and they are great.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Martin's potato rolls, from Pennsylvania, make for better eating than any bread I've had with barbecue in the South.

One of the joys of living here is Martin's potato rolls. I had a tomato and swiss cheese sandwich on a Martin's roll for today's lunch. Another great central PA specialty, sweet Lebanon bologna goes great on martin's rolls. When I smoke pork butt and have folks over I get Martin's rolls for those who want a sandwich.

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Jason's photographs have to be

near the zenith of

<i>food porn!</i>

<br><br>

Some of my data on BBQ is temporarily unavailable until I can

get a new Adaptec AHA-2940 SCSI card! The problem was not

Adaptec's!

So, here I'll do what I can just from memory!

<br><br>

My BBQ sandwich experience is from growing up in

Memphis, TN. 

Also, my brother is in Knoxville (Knoxpatch), TN, and I recall

from my visits there that they also have excellent BBQ

sandwiches, usually much like those common

in Memphis.

<br><br>

In both towns, in the past, at a BBQ joint, a <i>sandwich</i> was

coarsely chopped (not really <i>pulled</i> into shreds) BBQed

fresh pork <i>picnic</i> (front) shoulder. The shoulder cut is

from just above the wrist joint to just below the shoulder

joint. So, the elbow joint is in the chunk of raw meat as

purchased and cooked. My understanding is that having the

meat pulled into shreds requires cooking the meat to a

slightly higher temperature and is from traditions in the

Carolinas. But, now pulled seems to be becoming popular.

Coarsely chopped's fine with me!

<br><br>

As I remember (modulo a 2940 SCSI card), here in New York

State, the last time I tried to get buns like the larger ones

in Knoxpatch, I got 8, the largest I could find, just <i>white

bread</i> (they had sesame seeds stuck to the tops and sesame

seeds were not standard in Knoxpatch and Memphis), with total

net weight of 18 ounces. So, that would be

<br>

<PRE>

18*(1/16)*(1/2.2)*1000*(1/8) = 63.9

</PRE>

grams per bun (gee, doesn't everyone type with a text editor

that evaluates such arithmetic expressions?). These buns

were relatively large for US grocery stores but still not

quite as large as I was served in Knoxpatch. Actually, 63.9

grams is not really huge considering that with common US

sliced bread, a slice can claim to weigh 30 grams.

<br><br>

Although I don't have all my notes available just now, as I

recall, a 300 ml Pyrex glass custard dish has about the right

volume for meat enough for two sandwiches. This volume is

useful to know when using microwave to reheat, but reheating

does not help the quality and just means that didn't have

enough people in the kitchen when the meat was first ready to

eat!

<br><br>

To see how big 300 ml might be, let's see:

<br>

<PRE>

0.300*2.2*(1/2) = 0.330

</PRE>

pounds. So, assuming that the cooked meat has the density of

water and accounting for air spaces around

the chunks of

meat in the custard dish,

we're looking

at about 1/4 to 1/3 pound of meat per sandwich. Much more

than 1/3 pound would be a relatively large sandwich.

<br><br>

A few times in Memphis I ate BBQ without buns: Each year

Winchester-Western demonstration marksman Herb Parsons gave a

show with a BBQ picnic included. For the cooking, they dug a

long trench in the dirt and in the full length of the trench

started a charcoal fire, covered it with iron grills, and

placed the hogs on the grills. What was served was a paper

plate with a pile of chopped meat with sides of baked beans

and coleslaw. Slices of white bread were available, but

mostly the intention was not to make sandwiches. My father

took me a few times.

So, here my experience seems to agree with Varmint's:

That is, since they were cooking whole hogs,

I was at essentially a <i>pig pickin'</i> where

one usually doesn't make sandwiches.

<br><br>

A Memphis-Knoxpatch BBQ sandwich is a curious part of food and

cooking: It's not just a little bit good; it's way up on the

list of better things to eat. Spending more money is easy;

getting better food is not! It's so good it's worth asking

why, and quickly we see that such BBQ emphasizes salt, pepper,

acid, sugar, caramelization, Malliard browning, smoke, pork

fat, and maybe a little Worcestershire sauce (with its

anchovies) and more and, thus, hits hard on what G. Kunz said

were among the most important elements of taste.

<br><br>

I tend to go along with Jason's:

<blockquote>

Definitely should be squishy and of the refined flour type.

</blockquote>

I greatly admire French bread, French sauces, and much more

from Naples to Gibraltar to the Urals, but, still, tough to

beat BBQ. That the meat is wrapped up in a white bread bun

that is otherwise rare in the world's better foods is just one

of those things! Actually, I doubt that excellent French

bread, pizza bread, etc. would make it better.

Edited by project (log)

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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OK potato rolls it is.

I plan a variation on Dan Lepard's Honey and Potato bread (in the Handmade loaf book). Sourdough, slightly sweetened with honey. He adds raw grated potato; I'll use cooked mash potato. He makes a crusty loaf; I plan floured buns. I plan to bake Friday afternoon, for Sunday.

Size: Following Jasons excellent post, 1.9 oz is near enough 50gms; say 60gms dough weight;

Flour 2000g (100%)

Sourdough starter sponge 800g (40%)

Potato 300g (15%)

Salt 50g (2.5%)

Honey 100g (5%)

Makes 72

For the Q I've ordered 15Kg of pork shoulder and also beef brisket, which I shall smoke cook for 18 hours or so at about 225F, aiming for about 175F. Plain salt and pepper rub; no mopping. Brine or not?

Thats about 200g per bun, which should be OK.

Might heretically serve apple sauce and sage and onion stuffing as well as hot sauce to confuse the cultures. It is an apple pressing after all.

There will also be a Turducken, beans, coleslaw, potato salad and serious cheeses....and of course the pizzas

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