The Bun Makes the Burger: Choosing the Best Bread for Your Meat Stuffs

Pretzilla Pretzel Burger Buns barbecue picnic 
Pretzilla/Facebook

Okay, so maybe the bun doesn’t make the burger, but without a great bun, that grilled meat patty, toppings, and condiments are just a bunch of foodstuffs piled upon the plate. What are you going to do with ’em, use a fork and knife? How urbane … and sad. Going to wrap your burger in lettuce? That is an affront to pure American patriotism!

If you’re going to sink your teeth into a delectable hamburger, chicken sandwich, or double bacon cheeseburger, that patty and all its fixings belong between two buns. And when you choose the best burger bun for your patty, you get more than a starchy food delivery platform — you get added flavor and even some extra nutrition.

Here are a few great hamburger bun options you should bite into this summer. Just don’t forget to grill a burger and put it between the bread first. (Need a grill? Here are some portable ones to pick up.)

Pretzilla Pretzel Burger Buns
Pretzilla Pretzel Burger Buns 

If you like pretzel buns, you will love Miller Baking Co.’s Pretzilla Burger Buns. Why? Because they’re, like, really good. And they ship to you fresh, intended to be used or frozen within 48 hours of arriving. They’re light and fluffy, they’re sweet and salty, and they even look great, making a perfect bun choice when you’re grilling to impress. My advice is to use Pretzilla buns for your minimalist burgers: meat, cheese, mustard, and these buns. That’s all you need for perfection. Or go ahead and pile it on, man, this is America.

Classic Kaiser Roll
Kaiser Roll

There is a school of thought that says the most basic burger buns are the best. I’m not entirely on board with that, but I will allow this: There is a time and place for the classic Kaiser roll to serve as your bun, and often said time and place is any time and anywhere you are grilling a whole lot of burgers for a whole lot of people. (Or for a small number of people to go full beast mode and eat like six or seven burgers a head.) If you need to order Kaiser rolls in bulk, leave it to good old Sam’s Club. They sell a case of 144 buns for about $20. Yeah, you’re not gonna beat that.

Ozery Bakery OneBun
Ozery bun

You’ve seen this kind of bun around, right? Extra thin? Pre-sliced? They’re available from several brands and surely must all be the same, no? No! Ozery Bakery makes the OG thin bun, though their slender bread design has since been copied by multiple other companies. Ozery buns offer more flavor and nutrition than most of those copycats; I can vouch for the flavor part because I’ve been eating these buns for years and, in fact, finished off a bag of ’em just last week. As for the nutrition, let’s talk numbers. Each OneBun has only 190 calories yet packs in 7 grams of protein, 16 percent of your daily fiber needs, and 15 percent of your recommended daily calcium. Also, there’s some iron, zinc, magnesium, and other good stuff. Want to get super fancy? Try the Ozery Bakery Brioche Thin Buns.

Schar Ciabatta Par-Baked Rolls
ciabatta roll

Ciabatta rolls make great burger buns because they’re sturdy enough to keep their shape even when laden with heavy patties and lots of toppings and/or when condiments and juices drip down all over the bread. These Schar Ciabatta Par-Baked Rolls are a fine choice because you can have them shipped to your door for a decent price thanks to their long shelf life. (Which gets even longer if you freeze them, of course.) Because they are par-baked (for the record, they’re cooked — you can eat one right out of the package with no worries), they remain a bit doughy and are sublime when toasted on the grill prior to use in burger craftsmanship.

Sourdough Toast
sourdough bread slice
Kativ/Getty Images

No, I didn’t say a sourdough hamburger roll, I said sourdough toast. If you’ve never eaten a juicy burger laden with toppings and sandwiched between two thick slices of crunchy sourdough, then it’s time you did so, fellah. The tang of the sourdough perfectly blends with the savory perfection of meat and cheese, all of it balanced by your favorite condiments and veggies. I like using sourdough bread instead of sourdough buns because you can slice the exact thickness of bread you want, and because it toasts much more evenly (and quickly) than rounded rolls. Try Zingerman’s (Better Than) San Francisco Style Sourdough for an amazing option available for mail order, or head to your local trusted bakery.

Podcast

Beards, Booze, and Bacon: The Hawaii Episode

First, we give everyone a rundown of the volcano situation (it's totally not a big deal).
Outdoors

Tepui’s Latest Rooftop Tents and Gear Are Raising the Bar on Outdoor Adventuring

Think you need a hefty camper or a massive stash of gear to enjoy camping? Think again.
Living

Behind-the-Scenes at Van Dam Custom Boats’ Workshop and Design Studio

Every boat begins not with a model or template, but with a conversation.
Auto

5 Best Cars You Can Modify for $15,000 or Less

Thanks to a booming aftermarket, you can unleash the potential of these great, affordable cars with the right modifications.