1butternut squash, skin removed, cut in cubes, and with seeds removed(After smoking it is roughly 15 ounces of smoked squash by weight. If yours is larger, just adjust the liquid for the mac and cheese.)
2smoked chicken breasts(When chicken is cooked, shred with a fork, or cut into small cubes.)
1cupfreshly grated Parmesan cheese(You can also substitute a sharper hard cheese like Asiago)
For Preparing and Smoking the Squash and Meats
Preheat Smoker - Prepare smoker and target 250 degrees Fahrenheit using a fruit wood for a sweeter and softer flavor. If you want a more pronounced smoke flavor use oak or hickory.
Season - Place cubed squash on a foil lined sheet tray. Toss with 1 tablespoons olive oil and rub. For the chicken, cover in1 tablespoon olive oil and seasoning.
Smoke - Place the tray of squash, the seasoned chicken, and bacon on the smoker for 2 hours. If you don't have enough room on the smoker, roast the bacon separately in the oven.
Remove -After two hours, remove the squash and bacon. Shred the chicken with a fork and crush the bacon into small pieces. Remove the chicken when the internal temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Start checking the chicken after the first hour in case it cooks faster. This will depend on how thick the chicken is.
Mac and Cheese
Boil Macaroni - Start with a large pot of boiling, salted water. Add the macaroni noodles and cook based on the package directions. Be sure to strain prior to adding to the smoked butternut squash Mac and Cheese mix. Set aside.
Sauté - In a large cast iron or sauce pan (at least 10-inches with a deep edge) over medium heat, add olive oil and onions. Sauté to soften onions, about 10 minutes. Adjust the temperature of the stove top if they are cooking to fast and browning. Next add the garlic and cook for 1 additional minute to soften.
Add Squash - Add the butternut squash to the pan and stir for 1-2 minutes to incorporate with onions and garlic and re-heat the squash. (save the same pan to finish)
Blend - Place the mixture into a strong blender (we love BlendTec). Add milk, chicken stock, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to the blender mix. Puree until the texture is smooth. If the puree is too thick add small amounts of milk or chicken stock until it’s thin enough (roughly 2 tablespoons of each until you like the consistency).
Add Blend to Pan - Place the puree back into the pan and add the cheeses, smoked chicken, and half of the bacon. Slowly stir in the drained macaroni and the cheese will melt and incorporate. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
Place in your desired serving dish and top with the remaining bacon.
Prepping the Butternut Squash -
Slice off the ends of the squash on either side.
Remove the seeds and pulp with a spoon. If you do this after removing the skin it’s very difficult.
Using a sharp peeler, remove the skin from the squash.
Finally slice the squash into even cubes and it’s ready for seasoning.