Whole Smoked Butternut Squash – A soul food staple prepared on the grill for an easy dinner recipe on the weekend or weeknight. Oh, and it might be one of the best vegan butternut squash recipes I’ve ever had.
Though most would argue the best way to cook butternut squash is to roast it, I’m going contrarian and will argue that this smoked version is the best butternut squash recipe for my money. It also proves that just about any food is smokable. Hardwood smoke belongs in the category with bacon and butter, i.e. smoking makes everything mo better a fact that butternut squash bears out!
Austin winters, feel more like fall and not surprisingly butternut squash is still plentiful here locally. This smoked butternut squash is good practice for the fall football season, as this recipe will be added to the tailgating menu. Hey, I’m a Texan so it’s never too early to be planning for football.
Smoking is not an everyday thing for me, so whenever I crank up the smoker I aim for maximum efficiency and smoke as much as I can at one time. This particular day I was cookingÂ Jerk Chicken Leg Quarters and decided smoked butternut squash would be a good idea for future consumption. I had never smoked butternut squash before but figured the squash had several things going for it including density and a flavor profile that pairs well with applewood smoke. The density would allow it to hold up well to long slow smoking process texturally without absorbing too much smokey flavor if that’s not your thing. In the back of my mind I was thinking I could always use the oven to finish the job if necessary.
What is the flavor profile of the dish?
This is a simple recipe with few ingredients. You’re essentially relying on the natural sweetness of the squash which intensifies during the cooking process. This sweetness is a great balance to the earthy and savory ancho spice rub. The smoke just takes things up a notch and seamlessly blends well with the squash. It doesn’t overpower and mask that sweet, moist and nutty butternut squash flavor.
Key tips for making smoked butternut squash
- Use woods like apple, oak or pecan that impart a mild sweetness and pair well with vegetables. Stronger woods like hickory and mesquite will overpower the squash
- To reduce the amount of smoke flavor, cut the smoking time in half and finish the squash off in the oven.
- For a sweeter profile cook at lower temperatures (225-250) for a longer period (2-3 hours). Higher heat increases savoriness. Alternatively, you can adjust the spice rub to be a bit more sweet with additional brown sugar, honey, or cinnamon.
- I eliminated butter from the recipe to keep this a vegan butternut squash dish, but works fine with it if you prefer adding a bit more fat. Honestly, I don’t think it’s needed.
Smoked Butternut Squash
Add this dish to your collection of vegan butternut squash recipes. If you make it, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
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Smoked Butternut Squash with Ancho Chile Rub
Whole smoked butternut squash rubbed with an ancho chile spice mix and smoked over indirect heat for a sweet, smokey, flavor with a subtle light heat from the ancho.
- 1 butternut squash peeled cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder or more to taste substitute regular chili powder or cayenne is ancho unavailable
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
Prepare smoker for about 325-350 temperature (F).
Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise end of the butternut squash.
Cut criss-crossing diagonal lines into the flesh of the squash.
Mix olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, brown sugar, and chili powder in a mixing bowl
Brush olive oil mixture on top of each half of butternut squash.
Place on smoker and cook until soft all they way through about 90 minutes. If not to desired softness, finish in the oven roasting for 15-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
During the last 30 minutes of cooking add more of the olive oil mixture.