I love Shiver’s BBQ (28001 S Dixie Highway, Homestead); let’s start with that. But, before we jump into the ‘que, let’s go back to the beginning.
Shiver’s BBQ History
In 1951, E.L. Shorty Allen opened up a BBQ joint in Kendall named Shorty’s. A few years later (October 1st, 1957 to exact), Allen opened a second location further down the street in Homestead, Florida.
Allen’s friend and fellow Georgia native Virgil Shiver managed the second spot. In 1960 Virgil purchased the Shorty’s on 28001 Dixie Highway and renamed it Shiver’s Bar-B-Q.
The business was brisk at his location. And unfortunately, if you were driving down to the Florida keys, there was only one way to get there, and you would have to go by Shiver’s BBQ.
When business took a financial hit after the opening of the Florida Turnpike Extension in the 1970s, the restaurant pivoted into more of a spot for locals. Until then, they had a steady flow of tourists heading down south.
First Retirement, Then a Rebuild
Around this same time, Virgil had a heart attack, and his sons took over the day to day operations of the business. He sold about ten years later, and the ownership has changed hands a couple of times since then.
In August 1992, Hurricane Andrew would decimate Shiver’s BBQ. The damage caused meant a rebuild with upgrades slowed by the county’s new building codes.
They temporarily sold hot dogs and chili dogs out of a cart until they could get things up and running again. Finally, on Friday, September 3rd, 1993, the “newish” Shiver’s BBQ with an old soul opened its doors to its adoring fans.
Those same doors would close early that first night when food began to run out.
The Miami Herald reported that on that first day back, they sold, check out these staggering numbers: 55 gallons coleslaw, 540 buns, 200 pounds of beef, 300 pounds of pork, 250 pounds of chicken, 300 pounds of ribs, and 20 gallons of Shiver’s sauce.
An expansion into Westchester happened in 1994 with the addition of some Hispanic dishes. Unfortunately, it didn’t last very long, and the focus returned to their landmark location in Homestead.
More BBQ Talk
Since then, Shiver’s has consistently been the best BBQ in South Florida. Their competition till this point had been Shorty’s (1951), The Pit BBQ (1970), and Original Uncle Tom’s Barbecue (1948).
However, the BBQ revival in South Florida over the last ten years includes gems like Hate Mondays Tavern, Society BBQ, Sparky’s Roadside Barbecue, the upcoming Harry’s Smoke & Dough, plus an array of other after hour smokers and trailers selling their ‘cue to hungry late-night patrons.
This new blood will keep them on their feet.
Shiver’s BBQ Menu
The menu at Shiver’s is way more extensive than the handful of items when they initially opened. Do not allow yourself to be overwhelmed by it.
I can make some suggestions to get you started, but you’re on your own from there on out. Look no farther than the Squealing BBQ Potato Skins if you’re looking for a starter.
These potato shells covered in their pulled pork, bbq sauce, and cheese are almost like a meal. I’m a giant fan of their baby back ribs, but if they’ve got beef ribs the day you’re there, then you need to jump on that with the quickness.
The beef brisket sandwich is another one of my go-to, and you’ve got to choose that Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole as your side. It is some serious business, if you know what I mean.
If you can somehow squeeze in some dessert, I vote for the homemade banana pudding.
Shiver’s BBQ Food Pictures
Now that you’re hungry, nothing else is left to do but grab a meal from Shiver’s BBQ. So Dr. Beast says grab two and call me in the morning.
3 thoughts on “Shiver’s BBQ in Homestead, Florida”
Thank you for providing this history of Shivers! I grew up going there as a kid. Later as an adult also, but the quality dropped off and I stopped. I’ve seen more cars there recently and it appears to have good reviews now so I’ll have to stop by again soon. But I was curious – do you know why they have a photo of their place called Hickory Ranch on their website? I didn’t know it was owned by Shorty’s in the fifties, but the Hickory Ranch photo looks like maybe the sixties?
Can we order Shivers Barbecue Sauce on line? If not where can I buy it around St Augustine, Florida?
They don’t bottle it for sale.