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Barbecue: Although he's best known for his citified upscale cuisine at Ox Lot 9, chef Jeffrey Hansell is going down a soulful country road with his new restaurant Smoke in Covington. WOrking with his wife and partner Amy and pitmaster Nate Meharg, a passionate barbecue devotee, Hansell has raised the bar on barbecue, dishing outstanding slow pit fired meat and a menu of swoon-worthy sides. From the first mouthful, it's clear that Smoke is not your average barbecue joint. The menu offers Texas-style brisket, gorgeously charred and juicy; house-made hot link, and German- and Czech-inspired smoke sausage; smoked chickens; St. Louis-style pork ribs; pulled pork; and occasional specials like rib tips. The collard greens are epic, same goes for the uptown mac & cheese. For dessert, try a root beer float or a hefty slice of pie from Oxlot 9 pastry chef Breanne Kostyk.

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Local Expert Beth D'Addono Says:

Barbecue: "Don't miss the smoke fries, hand cut potatoes smothered in caramelized chunks of brisket, housemade bacon and cheese."

Best for Barbecue Because: Pitmaster Nate Meharg has the golden touch when it comes to smoking meat.

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