The first thing you’ll need to do is cook the bacon. My favorite method is to bake it: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Lay the bacon in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the bacon is just crisp. The exact time will depend on the thickness of your bacon, so watch it carefully because it can burn in a blink. Once the bacon is done, remove it from the tray and chop it. Refrigerate and save for a garnish.
(An optional method is to chop the raw bacon and render it over medium-low heat in a large skillet, then remove the bacon and save for later.)
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, pour the leftover bacon fat from baking the bacon. Add the ground beef, sea salt, smoked paprika, chili powder, and ground chipotle pepper. Stir often while cooking until the beef is cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes. While the beef is cooking, I like to prep the onion, sweet potato, and butternut squash.
In your slow cooker, combine the diced onion, sweet potato, and butternut squash. Add the cooked, seasoned ground beef. On top of this, add the fire-roasted diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and fish sauce. The fish sauce gives a savory flavor that adds a nice backbone of umami. It’s optional, but I highly recommend it.
Stir all the ingredients until combined, then set the slow cooker to low for 5 to 6 hours. Stir once or twice through the cooking process if you can.
Adjust the seasoning with black pepper and sea salt, then top with sliced green onion. Serve next to a green side salad for a complete meal.