Shorty’s BBQ in Miami

What I like about the Shorty’s BBQ building on Bird Road is that it has been a barbecue joint since 1984: Luther’s Barbecue (1984), Sonny’s BBQ (1986), Bar-B-Q Barn (1992), and Shorty’s BBQ (1994). You can still see the entrance to the Sonny’s BBQ drive-thru.

I’m well aware that this isn’t the original Shorty’s BBQ restaurant on US1. Yet, the original has been rebuilt twice, so it’s not so original, either. However, it was the first Shorty’s I encountered in Miami, back when it opened in the Westchester area.

Shorty's BBQ in Westchester
Shorty’s BBQ in Westchester

I’ve eaten at Shorty’s BBQ in Doral (now closed) and this one with friends and family multiple times, but never at the original restaurant. A few weeks after David Arbetter insisted that I try the burger at Shorty’s, I found myself in that same parking lot.

My dad was running an errand at the Home Depot one plaza over, so I gave him a call.

Shorty’s BBQ Menu

Shorty's BBQ Menu in Miami, Florida
Shorty’s BBQ Menu
Shorty's BBQ Menu in Miami, Florida
Back Menu Page

A Couple of Appetizers

After looking over the menu, I ordered for both of us while he was finishing up. By the time he arrives, the hand-battered onion rings and potato skins, plus a lemonade, are here.

Hot Sauce and BBQ Sauce from Shorty's BBQ in Miami, Florida
Hot Sauce and BBQ Sauce

The potato skins were solid, as expected, but I’m kind of surprised there’s not an option to add pulled pork. It would really level up these skins. It also came with the ugliest container of sour cream I’ve ever seen.

Potato Skins from Shorty's BBQ in Miami, Florida
Potato Skins

The hand-battered onion rings with a remoulade-type of dipping sauce were a big winner. None of them made it into the we ordered too much to go container. We both thought the size of the onion rings was perfect.

Hand-battered Onion Rings from Shorty's BBQ in Miami, Florida
Hand-battered Onion Rings

Pops ate a brisket sandwich with coleslaw and a fully loaded baked potato on the side. He enjoyed everything about this, but he’s not very critical of food. For him, it’s either good or not good.

I took a bite of his brisket sandwich and expected more. It had some fattiness, which I like, but this sandwich would work better with sauce all over it. My dad was all about the BBQ sauce on the table.

Brisket Sandwich from Shorty's BBQ in Miami, Florida
Brisket Sandwich

He chose to take the coleslaw and baked potato back home to my mom.

Coleslaw from Shorty's BBQ in Miami, Florida
Fully Loaded Baked Potato from Shorty's BBQ in Miami, Florida
Fully Loaded Baked Potato

Shorty’s BBQ Cheeseburger

Big Shorty's Cheeseburger from Shorty's BBQ in Miami, Florida
Big Shorty’s Cheeseburger

I wasn’t sure what to make of David Arbetter wanting me to eat the Shorty’s BBQ cheeseburger, aka the Big Shorty’s. In the past, he’s tried to get me to eat at some of his friend’s restaurants, which I’ve declined. But this was a burger; it’s my terrain.

Well, the Big Shorty’s is a chargrilled 10oz Black Angus Prime beef burger dressed however you like on a toasted brioche bun. So, I chose cheese, and that’s it!

The Big Shorty’s Burger is a picture-perfect chargrilled burger in looks and taste. I’m not sure what I’m more surprised by: how good the Big Shorty’s Burger tastes or that David Arbetter was right on the money.

My burger came with a side of crinkle-cut fries, which are sturdier than shoestring fries, which are all the rage these days. These are the types of fries that are made just for dunking in ketchup.

Wings Always Before Pie

I asked our server if there was anything we should try, and he suggested the wings. The wings come in 10 or 20 pieces per order, and five can be added to a meal, which is what we should have done.

Ten wings were ordered, with five tossed in Buffalo hot sauce and the other fellas in sweet BBQ sauce. The wings were smokey, which is what I was hoping for, and worked better with the BBQ sauce. The blue cheese was not ugly like its sour cream sibling.

We finally made it to dessert, so we chose the only homemade option: the key lime pie. The key lime pie was not very tart or sweet; it had a nice balance between both. My dad is not a key lime pie fan, but he polished off the last couple of bites, which says something.

Key Lime Pie from Shorty's BBQ in Miami, Florida
Key Lime Pie

My mom asked me to bring her an order of homemade potato chips and a Grilled Chicken Bacon Melt. I may have snuck a bite of the sandwich, which has a chargrilled chicken breast, bacon, and Swiss cheese. It’s a delicious chicken sandwich.

Homemade Potato Chips from Shorty's BBQ in Miami, Florida
Homemade Potato Chips

I’m convinced that the perfect meal at Shorty’s BBQ is the Big Shorty’s Burger with crinkle-cut fries and a key lime pie. Do you disagree with me? Then, let me know what your go-to meal is.

Shorty’s BBQ
11575 SW 40th Street
Miami, FL
(305) 227-3196

Website –
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Monday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Tuesday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Wednesday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Thursday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Friday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Saturday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

Shorty’s BBQ History

Shorty's Locations Postcard from 1957
Vintage Postcard of Shorty’s and Shivers BBQ in 1957

Shorty’s BBQ boasts a rich history as a Miami landmark, serving classic Southern barbecue for over 70 years. It all began in 1951 when Georgia native E.L. “Shorty” Allen opened the first Shorty’s BBQ on South Dixie Highway. The original spot was a Western-themed roadside stand with family-sized picnic tables and screen windows.

Shorty’s quickly gained popularity among locals and visitors alike for its slow-cooked barbecue ribs and chicken, all slathered in their famous homemade sauce. They also offered classic barbecue sides like coleslaw and corn on the cob.

Shorty’s quickly gained a reputation. Over the decades, Shorty’s became not just a place to eat but a cultural institution cherished by generations of South Florida patrons.

The restaurant did face challenges, though. A fire in 1972 destroyed the original building, but Shorty’s persevered and rebuilt an almost identical replica two years later. Even Hurricane Andrew in 1992 couldn’t keep Shorty’s down. Despite heavy damage, they reopened within a week, committed to serving the community.

Over the years, Shorty’s has evolved from a rustic log cabin eatery to a full-service restaurant with locations across South Florida. Even now, Shorty’s BBQ continues to maintain its legacy as one of Florida‘s most iconic barbecue joints.

P.S.: The second Shorty’s BBQ restaurant location would later become Shiver’s BBQ.

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