Homegrown Smoker: Vegan BBQ in PDX

Homegrown SmokerIf I could pack up one restaurant from Portland and bring it back home with me, it would be the Homegrown Smoker.  As luck would have it, it would also be the easiest restaurant to kidnap trucknap since it is a food truck.  That’s right, my favorite dining establishment in all of Portland has no waiters or waitresses.  It’s parked in a lot with several other food trucks, and the outdoor seating area is only covered by an awning.  That means in times of rain and a good wind, it can get a bit damp.  The bathroom is a port-o-potty by the name of Honey Bucket.  (Seriously.  Who thought that name was a good idea?)

But the food.  Oh.  My.  God.  First of all, it’s so unique.  I’ve done my fair share of traveling, but I have never encountered an exclusively vegan barbecue joint with an actual smoker.  I am a barbecue fan from way back, but even finding vegan barbecued options can be tricky.  At the Homegrown Smoker everything is vegan with lots of gluten-free options…  Just the smell emanating off the truck in waves of fragrant smoke was enough to make me want to return again and again.

homegrown smoker menuApplewood smoked Soy Curls, tofu, and Beyond Meat, chronic tempeh ribs, sweet molasses corn bread, baked beans, hush puppies, stewed greens…   (Seriously, do you think my Hyundai could pull a food truck?  I need to get on this STAT.)

reuben at the homegrown smokerSo the first time that we visited, I had no choice but to order the TRUEBEN.  I have been compiling an updated list of favorite reubens, and it’s just getting ridiculous.  The bar keeps getting set higher and higher.  The TRUEBEN was made with thinly sliced seitan pastrami that had been double smoked for maximum smoky effect.  It was served on rye bread with grilled peppers and onions, sauerkraut, and a creamy remoulade sauce.  The smokiness of the sandwich combined with the subtle sweetness of the sauce and a slight sour bite from the sauerkraut made for a reuben lover’s dream.

It came with a choice of sides, and I went with their stewed greens, which were melt-in-your mouth perfection, dotted with tomatoes, onions, garlic, vinegar, and their house made rub.

buffalo sandwich Homegrown SmokerDavid had the Buff Chikn Sammich, which is their buffalo-style sandwich made with Beyond Meat and served on a bun with salad greens, grilled peppers, onions, and jalapenos.  It’s then tossed with buffalo sauce and ranch dressing.  This was the first experience with Beyond Meat for each of us, and we both enjoyed it.  It had a good bite and texture.  It picked up a lot of that grilled flavor underneath the spicy sauce.  David said about it, “To say that this is one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had is not hyperbole.”  For his side, David chose a mound of crisp sweet potato fries.

BBQ platter - Homegrown SmokerOf course, after that introduction, we really had to go back a second time before we left.  This time around, I wanted to maximize my taste options, and so I ordered the HGS BBQ Platter, which comes with a choice of two proteins and two sides, along with sweet molasses cornbread.  This thing was huge.  We easily could have split it, but I was more than happy to reheat my leftovers the next day for an unconventional breakfast.

I filled out my plate with smoked Soy Curls, which were loaded with the flavor of applewood and topped with a bourbon barbecue sauce, and smoked tofu that was dense with a great bite.  I couldn’t resist revisiting the stewed greens and adding in STFU Puppies, their crisp corn fritters, which are served with the remoulade sauce.

Cajun tofu sandwich - Homegrown SmokerThis time around David opted for the special of the day – the Cajun tofu sandwich.  It was made with fried tofu, coleslaw, jalapenos, grilled onions and peppers, and served with a drizzling of their mellow yellow sauce.  It came with a choice of sides, and David went with classic french fries.

Until I can manage a return trip to the Portland area, I’m going to keep working on the details of the Homegrown Smoker’s cross-country move.  I know it’s going to be a disappoint to the locals to lose it, but hey, I’ll let them keep the Honey Buckets.

Homegrown Smoker 2 on Urbanspoon

44 thoughts on “Homegrown Smoker: Vegan BBQ in PDX

  1. Oh. my. goodness. The flavor of BBQ (the smokiness and sauce, not necessarily the meat or its texture) is one of the things I miss most from my “former life.” Unfortunately most BBQ joints pride themselves on being “manly” and don’t offer much for vegans, or even vegetarians for that matter, so this must have been an amazing treat.

    • It is a rare treat finding a vegan-friendly barbecue. There are restaurants that have plant-based foods in barbecue sauce, but it’s an entirely different thing having a vegan-dedicated grill and smoker. If you’re ever in Portland, Kelly, you should definitely check it out!

  2. I love these guys even though I’ve never eaten their food. I donated a little somethin’-somethin’ during their Kickstarter campaign and I’m so glad to see them cranking it out – the food looks to die for!

  3. It was so nice to meet you at VVC! Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to try out Homegrown Smoker, but I’ll be sure to make a point of getting there next time (and I hope there will be a next time). It sounds amazing!

  4. Wow, I’m seriously drooling over all of this amazing food! The menu sounds so good, it must have been difficult deciding what to order as it all sounds so incredible.

  5. I am so lucky, because HGS and Native Bowl are both a sweet skip from my house. And I agree about the whole Honey Bucket thing, I thought the same thing when I first heard of them. Pretty gross, but pretty funny, too!

    xo
    kittee

    • Oh, you are lucky!! Color me green with envy! I’m disappointed that I missed Native Bowl, as they were closed the second time I was in the area. It was near the top of my to-do list. I’ll simply have to catch it when I visit next time!

  6. Sorry, but Seattle is next on the list for Homegrown Smoker. You’ll have to get in line. The crazy thing is, even someone who is gluten-free can eat at HGS and not feel slighted in the least.I’m so disappointed I didn’t get there this trip, but I’ll be back in Portland someday soon!

    • It is fabulous how many gluten-free options they have, including a gluten-free cornbread. I didn’t realize that Seattle had already called dibs on the Homegrown Smoker. Can I rock/paper/scissors you for it?

  7. stop it with the amazing food! that tofu sandwich looks amazing! u know wht i havent had a reuben evah. i think i need to pick the treuben from homegrown whenever i can get to portland and then try to recreate it:)

    • Please do! I’d love to wrap my hands around the Richa reuben! I can’t believe you’ve never had one. If you like sauerkraut, you are sure to love it!

  8. LOL, you and your lust-affair with all these Reubens. I easily see an entire series of bodice-rippers about them! :-)

    Homegrown Smoker sounds mahteh southern, ya’ll – raht down to the “honey bucket” (a term originating in the early 30s and still used in Dixie, if not elsewhere). I haven’t seen fare like that since a trip to Alabama in ’04 (and of course that wasn’t vegan, for shame for shame). I am most tempted by David’s Buff Chikn Sammich and fries, and your HGS BBQ platter – man, those look and sound amazingly delicious and filling! Best of luck with your diabolical trucknapping caper!! :-)

    • I need to get started on my series of Reuben romance novels. Clearly that’s where my creative leanings and taste preferences are taking me! :)

      I’m still working out the details of my trucknapping scheme. I’ll keep you posted!

  9. That place was delicious! You guys both got different meals than we did which makes me realize that all their food is mouthwatering. I’ll help you pull the cart if we can agree on some kind of time share on the truck :-)

  10. It all looks so good! I sooo wish we could’ve tried this place! Can you imagine the profanities coming from Chris’s mouth at this place? We were going to go on Sunday but they closed early. We feel like we need to go back to Portland because we weren’t done eating. Oh well- next time. :-)

    • I CAN imagine the profanities that Chris would have uttered over this food. You might have needed to send me there ahead of time to clear out any sailors from the area. I wouldn’t want Chris to make them blush! ;)

      There was still so much more I wanted to see around Portland! It would be great to go back again and hit up more of the outdoorsy things too!

  11. wow! This all looks so good. I’ve never actually eaten at Homegrown Smoker, even though I’ve been to Portland a bunch of times. One of these days I’ll get around to it! :)

  12. Well, I mean, if you really think about it, “Honey Bucket” is a much better term, than, say, “Dump of Doom”.

    But I digress.

    Hooooly smokes! See? We need the hive mind. I need that molasses corn bread and the soy curls SOY CURLS I HAVE HEARD SO MUCH ABOUT YOU end caps.

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  15. Awesome to see this post Cadry! Homegrown Smoker rocks our plant-based socks off. If only they were in SoCal too *sad trombone*.

    “To say that this is one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had is not hyperbole.” Best. Line. Ever.

    • Luckily you have all kinds of amazing options in SoCal already like Real Food Daily, Cafe Gratitude, Rahel, Sun Cafe, Locali, and more to salve your sadness until you can book a trip to PDX! :) The next time I go to Portland, whenever that is, it will definitely be my first stop!

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