Finding a good barbecue in Miami has become much easier in recent months. But finding a good kosher grill is a different story.
This is where Izzy’s owner and pit boss Sruli “Izzy” Eidelman comes in.
In 2015, Eidelman opened a kosher grill restaurant in New York City that offers slow-cooked meat (sans pork) in high quality to the city’s meat-loving masses.
Starting this month, he brings his kosher-friendly menu to Miami.
“With all the restrictions and limitations of New York City, coming to Miami felt like the right fit at the right time,” says Eidelman, who plans to move to the area with his wife on a part-time basis. “We happen to be kosher grills, but we have lots of people coming in who are not kosher and saying, ‘This is one of the best grills I’ve ever had.’ My goal is to share this barbecue with the community – not just the Jewish community. ”
This month, Izzy’s opens its third location – and the first in Florida – in Aventura. The Kosher grill joint is set to officially open the last week of October at Waterways Shoppes. The newly renovated room serves top quality kosher meat that is smoked in the room of a wood smoker and finished on a wood burning stove.
Described as Texas-style with a Brooklyn-Jewish twist, the menu is 100 percent kosher. Izzy even keeps kosher and wanted to offer a sublime barbecue experience to others.
It does not matter if you keep kosher. Almost any meat lover can appreciate Eidelman’s star menu, an 18-hour smoked brisket spiced with salt, pepper and a touch of paprika.
“Brisket is king, and breast is kosher. That’s what I can relate to the most, and – for me – is the best form of barbecue out there,” says Eidelman New Times.
When the judges for 2017 Brisket King of NYC competition tasted Izzy’s Brooklyn Smokehouse – among them Jake Dell of Katz’s Deli – their decision was unanimous. According to Eater food writer and Meat exhibition host Nick Solares, it was easy to crown it as the best in New York City. Izzy’s did it again two years later and took home the grand prize at Rib King NYC 2019 to massive beef ribs that passed the pig competition.
How does a Brooklyn kid holding a kosher create an award-winning barbecue? Through pure willpower.
Eidelman says he was introduced to good barbecue by Wandering Que, a kosher grill pop-up led by Texas-born pit boss Ari White. After hours of taste testing — and close to $ 300 of food — he was beaten.
“My life changed at that moment, and I was obsessed with smoking, cooking and grilling,” says Eidelman, who visited most of the country’s largest grilling destinations to learn what he could before trying to replicate their cooking at home. “Even if I could not taste it, I would still try a good barbecue, and today that is what drives me to deliver the best I can. Five years later, I am still constantly learning to improve my craft.”
Completely self-taught, Eidelman, 34, began cooking in his backyard in 2013, beginning with a gas grill before graduating to a wood-burning stove. Two years later, he opened his first restaurant in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood, followed by another location on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Izzy’s menu focuses on a variety of kosher meats sold at half a kilo, from breast to smoked chicken to beef. Many are also found in rice-based bowls, like tacos or on top of nachos, while others are part of super-sized sandwiches like the popular fried smoked chicken and a Polish sausage topped with homemade chili and coleslaw. More and more are highlighted as specialties, e.g. The house “dino” beef ribs, two weeks of salted and smoked pastrami and smoked lamb.
“A lot of people think you can take food and give it a blessing and it’s going to be kosher, but that’s not how it works,” Eidelman says, noting that the Miami menu starts with a limited selection of meats as operations rising over coming months.
Buying from strictly kosher suppliers can be an expensive endeavor, he adds, but it also provides sophisticated cuts that deliver both texture and flavor. The kosher process requires a number of controls, from inspecting the animal to ensure that it is human-bred and disease-free, to using selected cuts (cuts in the front and back quarters, for example, are not sold as kosher).
At Izzy you will of course not find any pork. But Izzy’s pulled beef offers a comparable twist to the traditional grill favorite. And Eidelman is excited to welcome Miami to its new Izzy space in Aventura.
“The most exciting part of coming to South Florida is having an open kitchen and the ability to cook over a live fire,” he says. “I’m really looking forward to sharing it with Miami.”
Izzy’s Brooklyn Smokehouse. 3585 NE 207th St., Aventura; 305-690-7103; izzyssmokehouse.com. Opening in late October 2021.