Hidden away in a small suburban shopping village to the North of central Portland; The Homegrown Smoker, is a vegan BBQ joint with a serious problem when it comes to portion control. Don’t worry; this is not a bad problem to have. What you get at the Smoker are large, shareable and excellent value feeds. But make no mistake, this is comfort food, pure and simple. With an array of vegan meats, burgers and veganised Southern fare, the hardest thing about coming to the Smoker was choosing what to have.
On our visit we probably could have ordered half the amount or taken some home; but in the name of research we powered through.
First up was the Big Kahuna Burger, which takes its name from the famous fictional burger chain present throughout the cinematic world of Quentin Tarantino. Films Pulp Fiction, and From Dusk Til Dawn have both had significant product placement for the made up Big Kahuna burger chain; a “Hawaiian burger joint.”
The Big Kahuna Burger at the smoker features their home made meaty burger patty and a grilled pineapple ring, cheese, slaw and throw in some vegan ham if you want to. The burger is huge. The bun is huge and the patty is super thick. The texture is super meaty and easily one of the most convincing vegan meat patties we’ve tried. There is one word I can think for this burger, and that is SatisfyingAF.
There are four burgers on the menu, including the Mac Daddy; which has the patty and is also loaded with Mac n Cheese.
The Mac n Cheese also features in a burrito; the Macnocheeto which was next up on our agenda. This burrito is filled with smokey BBQ soy curls, beans, peppers and BBQ sauce and a not insignificant amount of Mac n Cheese (referred to as Macnocheese at HGS).
This burrito was mammoth; easily as big as our faces, and as we are very sensible people we cut it in half so we had two mammoth burritos instead of one mammoth burrito. Even half of this thing was a struggle to finish. If you’re a Mac n Cheese fanatic like us; you have to try this burrito!
Finally we threw in some sides of Sweet Potato Fries and Hush Puppies. We didn’t know what Hush Puppies were until we came here and up until that point explanations had failed to accurately describe what they were. The menu said they were corn fritters; but these aren’t the style of corn fritter I was familiar with. The best description I can find for Hush Puppies is a kind of deep fried polenta ball. These came served with a delicious remoulade.
Our visit to HGS was a great experience; although the portion sizes had us questioning our faith in humanity a little bit. While large portion sizes were not uncommon on our North America trip; the food size at HGS was on the next level (particularly considering the excellent price) and our advice to any non-American visiting would be to order one thing at a time or be prepared to take a doggy bag away. This isn’t a complaint; just an observation!
Home Grown Smoker is located a little far from the city; and while there are public transport links an Uber or a taxi will set you back $20-25 and take half the time.
8638 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203, USA