Cincinnati chef Daniel Wright is not only a hot dog whisperer at his flagship restaurant Senate; at Pontiac barbecue and bourbon bar, he's a genius with smoked meat. This summer, he's on a mission: to get more cooks out of the kitchen and into the backyard. Here, he shares five steps to transforming barbecue neophytes into full-fledged smoker superstars.
1. Choose your woods wisely. Fruity woods, like cherry and apple, and heartier woods, like mesquite and hickory, work well with pork. When smoking beef and poultry, stick with oak, hickory or mesquite.
2. Massage your meat. For beef, we are salt and coarse pepper purists: This simple rub before smoking allows the wood to create the bold flavor. But when it comes to pork and poultry, go nuts: mix a little sugar, salt and a few of your favorite spices, and rub it in. We're big fans of cumin, paprika, dry mustard and chili powder.