For almost two years, the biggest story in BBQ along the Georgia coast was happening in Brunswick. South of Heaven BBQ was as good (if not better) than any BBQ you could find between Savannah and the Florida border. The pitmaster/owner there was Judd Foster, a “Philly” guy who moved to Atlanta once upon a time and learned from some of the best in the South.
Shortly after 2020, he and his family relocated to the Golden Isles and started South of Heaven. South of Heaven is now closed. It wasn’t a failed venture, it was a pivot in favor a better quality of life.
The good news us is, Judd has now set up shop on wheels. And he is planning to spend a lot of time in Savannah. But we will let him tell you the good news. Here is a portion of my chat with Judd, edited for brevity and clarity.
You and your lovely bride, Kate, had a wonderful little thing going down there at South of Heaven BBQ, you opened right across from Willie’s Weenie Wagon in the heart of Brunswick, you shot out of a cannon, you were crazy popular, but you closed.
You did. And that caught me by surprise, it, I’m sure, caught a lot of people by surprise. But you’ve now taken on a new chapter, and we can discuss that in a second, but tell us, first of all, the reason why, or reasons why you decided to close the doors on your brick and mortar in Brunswick.
You know, me and Kate, we’ve been… We’re fighters, ever since COVID, you know, we’ve been just fighting and fighting to find our way in a perfect atmosphere. You know, our move down here to the coast was to find some peace and quality of life. And we weren’t finding it. We were working harder than we ever have, and, you know, it was time for us to make a change, and, you know, God bless Kate, it was… she loved every second of the journey, but it was never 100% her dream. And now she gets to go spread her wings and do what she loves, and I can continue to do what I love with a new group of amazing people and actually have some support to help maintain that quality of life.
As I told you before we came on the air here, you are probably the third person I’ve spoken to recently, post COVID, I think, is a good measure for that, who have decided, you know what, the grind of having to open nearly every day for a brick and mortar and being there for your customers is a grind when it’s a small group, you and your wife, and you have a little boy, it can be tough. I’ve met a few people who are like you know what? We’re gonna sell this business, we’re gonna buy ourselves a food truck, and we’re gonna take on some catering gigs, which pay well, and we’re gonna work when we want, we can, and if there’s something more important then we’re gonna turn down the job. That played into your role, into your mentality, right?
Oh, I mean, 100%, you know, I like the grind, but with a brick and mortar, you can’t pump the breaks, you know, so… We’re gonna come out of the gate with Tempest BBQ just swingin’, but it’s nice to have the option when your body starts telling you all systems are failing, to, you know, not completely throw a wrench in everything.
Yeah, let’s jump into that, your new venture is called Tempest BBQ.
Tempest BBQ, yes sir.
Based here in Savannah, right?
Yes, Cape Creations Catering, they purchased that a few years back and they had a- they were actually customers of ours at South of Heaven. I knew them well, Kate actually grew up with Wesley Lynn, and he contacted me and said he was looking for someone to spearhead his BBQ trailer, and so here I am.
Very cool, so it’s a BBQ trailer. You’re gonna be doing some, obviously, catering gigs that Cape Creations will facilitate. You’ll be the guy. You’ll be doing large events, you might do some small events, you have plans for pop-ups maybe this summer here in Savannah?
But this allows you freedom. And I know you enjoy your life down there with– how old is your little boy? 6-7 years old?
Six. And I know you guys love your beach time, you love your family time, this has been kind of a wonderful thing in your BBQ journey, would you agree?
Yeah, you know, closing South of Heaven was probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do in a long time. But now that the smoke is starting to clear and our lives are getting settled, I mean, it was absolutely a no-brainer, and you know, I get to, for the first time ever, concentrate on my craft and not the other things that take up 90% of your time when you are the owner of a business.
Very cool, so it is Tempest BBQ, part of Cape Creations, here based in Savannah if you’d like to hire them for your next event, it is essentially South of Heaven BBQ, it is some of the best BBQ on the Georgia coast. Are you going stir-crazy yet?
Yes. (laughing) I do love the beach, I don’t love it that much.
Right? Especially as it starts getting hotter, you know, like Fourth of July we always go down to the beach and after like 45 minutes out in the sun I’m like "OK where’s the pool and a beer?"
Judd Foster, Tempest BBQ is the new name of his venture, you’ll be hearing more. Do you guys have a website?
Yeah it’s tempestbbq.com, but yeah, look for us, we’re gonna be stationed out of St. Simons, Brunswick, Savannah, probably up in Hilton Head, so, we’re gonna make our rounds for sure.