Each year, we ambitiously attempt to outdo our turkey of Thanksgivings past. In an effort to up the anti on in-home execution, we enlisted the advice of cookout connoisseur Yehuda “Judd” Joffre, the man behind the wood-smoked menu of Judd’s Memphis Kitchen*.
In 2015, the Memphian turned Brooklynite ambitiously swapped a career in real estate for a spot in the kosher culinary scene. “After a few months of tinkering with recipes and selling specialized meats for Shabbos, word spread quickly and I had a decision to make,” explains Joffre. “I chose to launch Judd’s into a business and haven’t looked back since.”
This entrepreneurial foodie (slash husband and father of two) attributes his success to a Southern upbringing, “We cook with a down-home, signature flare that no one else in this region can offer. I’ve brought authentic Tennessee barbecue to the East Coast.” Putting his personal stamp on the all-American eats, Joffre has quickly won over New Yorkers with his “Wood Smoked Low-and-Slow Beef Brisket” and “The $100 burger.” A modest start of traveling food cart and event catering throughout the five boroughs has evolved into a nation-wide presence.
Judd’s jam-packed schedule is proof the renaissance in Southern cooking extends to kosher realm, “We are constantly doing cool and unique events, from last week’s inaugural New York Jewish Comic Con to an upcoming pop-up with kosher pub House of Dog in Miami on Sunday, Nov. 20th, in collaboration with Chef Yos Schwartz of Hassid+Hipster.”
As for Thanksgiving, “I decided to mainly just kick back and enjoy the day with my family,” says Joffre. “Our team works so hard that we need every minute of rest we can get! Thanksgiving in my house in Memphis was always family time, so I keep that tradition.”
In terms of holiday fare, the founder recommends a turkey steeped in smoky flavors from the convenience of classic charcoal grill. “I am a big fan of stainless steel smoker boxes sold at places like Home Depot or Sur La Table,” he shares. “Select and soak your choice of flavored wood chips, then place them in smoker box and light. Simply position the lit smoker on your grill next to the bird and it will infuse a nice smokiness.”
And suddenly a Southern-inspired Turkey Day sounds so delicious, and so doable. Yet another reason the trended Western shirt proves apropos this season.
- 1 gallon water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- Small handful of aromatics such as garlic, onions, bay leaves, peppercorns, fresh herbs and strips of orange or lemon zest
In a large pot, combine half the water and the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring until all the salt has evaporated. Remove from heat and add the remaining water and allow to cool completely before using. To maximize flavor, toast any spices in a dry pan before adding them to the brine.
- 2 part garlic powder
- 2 part kosher salt
- 2 part butcher black pepper
- lemon pepper
- 1/2 part smoked paprika
- 1/2 part cinnamon
- 1/2 part cayenne pepper
Brine the turkey first. Pat the turkey completely dry with paper towels and tie legs with kitchen twine. Coat the bird with a choice mustard and apply the spice rub evenly. Position the lit smoker box on your grill and place turkey on grate over pan (do not allow the turkey to sit over coals). Cover grill. Maintain temperature as close as possible to 350°, rotating every hour for even browning, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165° (juices should run clear when thermometer is removed), about 2 3/4 hours.
*Certified Glatt Kosher under the supervision of Rabbi Shmuel Dovid Beck / Brooklyn, New York.