At first glance, Homegrown Smoker in Portland, Oregon, appears to serve all the traditional barbecue classics, but look a little closer and you’ll discover everything isn't quite what it seems. Instead of making ribs and pulled pork sandwiches, Homegrown Smoker specializes in smoking meat-free barbecue.
“I love smoky flavors, and when I went vegan, I still wanted to eat all the foods that I enjoyed,” says Jeff Ridabock on his decision to open an entirely vegan barbecue restaurant. “As I got into this over the years, I realized I could apply all traditional-type barbecue methods to vegan foods.”
Homegrown Smoker became known for its tempeh ribs. Essentially, the “ribs” are smoked in a basement smoker, fried to produce a super-crunchy exterior, and then covered in barbecue sauce. Ridabock swears that they’re just like regular ribs -- dense, smoky, saucy, and sweet -- everything you’d get from regular barbecue, just without any animal product. They’re even served with classic sides, like collard greens, hush puppies, and a vegan take on mac and cheese, aptly called mac-no-cheese.
Along with ribs, Homegrown Smoker has its own take on a pulled pork sandwich, featuring smoked soy curls, barbecue sauce, and coleslaw. If you’re itching to tackle a gigantic burrito, try the Macnocheeto: a tortilla stuffed with smoked soy curls, mac-no-cheese, and grilled vegetables, forging a burrito that’s well over 2 pounds. But its most popular item is the Mac Daddy Burger, boasting a smoked seitan patty that’s layered with mozzarella, pickles, barbecue sauce, and a heaping portion of mac-no-cheese.
Check out the video above to see if you can be converted to vegan barbecue too.