I love Shiver’s BBQ, let’s start with that.
Let’s go back to the very beginning. In 1951, E.L. Shorty Allen opened up a BBQ joint in Kendall named Shorty’s. Just 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. If you were driving down to the Florida keys, there was only one way to get there, and you would have to drive by Shiver’s.
When business took a financial hit after the opening of the Florida Turnpike Extension in the 1970s, the restaurant pivoted into a more of a locals spot. Until then, they had a steady flow of tourists heading down south.
RETIREMENT & A REBUILD
Right around this same time, Virgil had a heart attack and his sons would take over the day to day operations of the business. About 10 years later he sold 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 which were 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.
On Friday, September 3rd, 1993 the “newish” Shiver’s with an old soul opened its doors to their 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. It didn’t last very long and the focus went back 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, and 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.
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.
If you’re looking for a starter, then look no farther than the Squealing BBQ Potato Skins. These potato shells covered in their pulled pork, bbq sauce, and cheese are almost a meal in itself.
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 tos 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, my vote is for the homemade banana pudding.
Now that you’re hungry, there is nothing else left to do but grabbing a meal from Shiver’s. Dr. Beast says grab two and call me in the morning.
28001 S Dixie Highway