Restaurant Review: Homegrown Smoker [Portland]

OFFROAD VEGAN TOP 5!

There is a small, obscure, sea-foam green food cart tucked into the corner of the Mississippi cart pod.  To the untrained eye, it is yet another cart slinging hipster chow.  To the vegans of Portland, it is a shining beacon of real-deal, home-smoked, vegan BBQ.

The little cart that can. And does.

And it is amazing.

I have been a fan of Homegrown Smoker (HGS) since they had a spot down in SW Portland.  Ever since those early days, Homegrown has been a pinnacle of the vegan scene in Portland and is one of my Top 5 spots in the US.

My favorite used to be the Loafaroni, a “meat”loaf sandwich made up of a slathering of BBQ sauce, a heaping scoop of mac no cheese, meatloaf, and two buttered, crispy buns.  It is still my favorite, but I accidentally read the fat content of the Field Roast meat loaf they use, and well….the nutrition facts were a little startling.  Even for vegan food, it was a little “rich.”

Slow Smo Mo Fo with a side of Mac.

HGS also revised their menu and the Loafaroni took a bit of a sabbatical.  During that time I became pretty enamored with the SlowSmoMoFo, a BBQ sandwich of seasoned soy c urls, cole slaw and maple bourbon BBQ sauce.  Order it with a side of Mac no Cheese and you have a winner.

The menu at HGS is a collection of southern-esque BBQ fare; with offerings such as the Carolina Chicken Sandwich (BBQ and Beyond Meat together in a sammy), Smoked Tempeh Burger, Sweet Potato Fries, and a Combo Platter.

The menu at HGS.

The menu has a decent variety of food for the regulars, but the specials are really where the tough decisions need to be made.

With specials like “Another Good Burrito” (A grilled wheat tortilla filled with psstrami, sweet potato fries, Daiya, Mac No Cheese, Broccoli, Grilled Peppers, onions and mellow yellow sauce) and the “Buff Burrito” (Tempeh Facon, smoked Beyond Meat, Buff Sauce, Mac no Cheese, french fries, tomato, raw greens, and creamy ranch), it can often be hard to choose your lunch.

Today’s special: The Buff Burrito.

There really aren’t any complaints with HGS.  Their food is top notch, vegan BBQ comfort food.  Their hours can be a bit flimsy, but that is to be expected with a food cart operation.  If you are traveling in from a distance, be sure they are open (the cart life seems to be plagued with closures for many issues).

My personal goal is to try more of their options, and not the same ol’ slow smo mo fo.  Honestly, though it is really hard when you have an absolute favorite!

Homegrown Smoker is a pillar of the vegan food scene in Portland.  I hope one day to see them mature out of the cart and into something more permanent…so I can sleep better at night.

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