I have been liking what I have seen of Ryan's place, that is where I think a high end BBQ place can be taken. If what you are looking for is to feature BBQ, that is much the concept I would look at.
On the other hand, if you wanted to do fine dining, which is what I take upscale to really mean, it comes down to tailoring food to a higher level of service. Smoked meats can figure into the equation, but, it ends up being about how to create the elevated sensation of fine service with that food. You could still do brisket, pork shoulder and such, but, in smaller portions and with more presentation. Thus...
BBQ normal to me...brisket is served on the plate, with pickles, onion, maybe slaw and beans...
Upscale to me...brisket is served on the plate, with house made pickled vegetables and a sweet and spicy polenta and plate sauce from jus
I also think the flavors you pull or add to the meat have to be more complex, people will expect more expansive and creative flavors and higher quality meat if they are paying more for the experience.
I'm feeling bearish, and I'm packing a Wusthof Grand Brisket slicer from MABA
"I'm Armenian...perhaps...but then again...maybe not..."