The Worst Bun For Burgers, According To Anthony Bourdain

Simple to make, easy to hold and eat with your hands, and dangerously delicious, you can't beat a good burger. Even some top chefs agree; Anthony Bourdain called hamburgers "the ultimate bar food" in "A Cook's Tour" (via YouTube). But while Bourdain appreciated the juicy, greasy, satisfying taste and texture, there was one component of some burgers that the chef, author, and presenter was not such a fan of: the brioche bun.

Soft, buttery, and slightly sweet, some chefs and home cooks swear by a rich brioche bun for their homemade all-American cheeseburger. But Bourdain disagreed, believing that brioche was a "woefully unsuitable" choice for burgers (via Thrillist).

Bourdain's beef, excuse the pun, with brioche burger buns had as much to do with the texture of the bread as its flavor. The problem is that soft, squishy brioche can begin to crumble and disintegrate as you begin to eat a juicy burger, breaking apart in your hands before you've even finished it. And, for Bourdain, that made brioche the absolute worst choice for a burger bun.

Brioche buns lack the structural integrity for burgers

Some basic breads, such as baguettes or dinner rolls, are based on a lean dough recipe, made with just flour, yeast, water, and salt, which gives them a chewy consistency with a crispier crust. But brioche is an enriched dough, which means the dough has added sugar as well as fat, such as butter, eggs, or cream. This gives it a softer texture, with an almost cake-like quality.

While burger buns should be soft so that you can easily bite right through both pieces as well as the patty and all the toppings in one go, you don't want them to be so soft that they are not sturdy enough to hold together. And for many people, including Anthony Bourdain, this is the problem with brioche buns; they simply lack the structural integrity needed to deal with the juiciness of burgers, and they fall apart all too easily.

Another issue is that the extra butter and sugar in brioche buns mean they're just too rich and sweet for some tastes when paired with a fat, juicy burger patty. Bourdain himself complained that they added extra greasiness to the experience, rather than absorbing the natural greasy juiciness of a burger patty. And given that brioche's ingredients, apart from the yeast, are similar to that of cake, you can see why some find it too sweet and buttery to be paired with juicy, savory meat.

Anthony Bourdain preferred a soft potato burger bun

Rather than sweet, pillowy brioche, chef Anthony Bourdain preferred bread that was better equipped to absorb all the juices and grease from a burger without falling apart. Step forward the classic potato bun, often considered the absolute best bread for burgers and greasy sandwiches.

In a video with Tech Insider from 2016, Bourdain revealed that the three simple ingredients for the perfect burger should be a "soft squishy potato bun" to house the good-quality meat, and a cheese designed to melt well, such as processed cheese (via YouTube). A potato bun holds together well under the onslaught of juiciness from a good burger, meaning it can be eaten with one hand, another of Bourdain's preferences. Plus the more neutral flavor means it does not compete with or overwhelm the taste of the patty, as sweet brioche can.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given his taste for a simple burger that maintained its structural integrity, Bourdain was partial to the burgers from fast food joints including In-N-Out burgerĀ and Shake Shack. Or, believing the burger to be a great food to accompany a drink, he was also a fan of bar burgers, such as the offering at the Corner Bistro in New York City. Ideally with a cold beer in his other hand.