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Shorty's (BBQ?) in Palm Beach Gardens on PGA

Ok, so I have found that my pre-judgement of this chain by other's reviews on here was pretty accurate. Shorty's has all of their main staff at this location making sure everything goes smoothly. Greeters at the door, plenty of staff on hand, and others checking on you to make sure everything is fine.

Brunswick stew was good. It had all of the components that I prefer with pork, beef, corn, lima beans and without a pureed texture. They definitely had way too much corn in it for my liking, but I can let that slide. This is the best b-wick stew I have had here, but that isn't saying much. The b-wick stew had me on the upswing expecting great BBQ.

Instead of more good things to come, I found the "hand pulled" pork BBQ jumbo sandwich option to be a huge let down. It wasn't hand pulled at all and they must have mixed mine up with the standard chopped. One taste of the pork without sauce and I knew instantly it was completely smokeless. You'd think some of these places would accidentally let some smoke surround the meat in the process, but not so. Also, the meat was not only very dry, but extremely small for the amount needed to be considered jumbo. It didn't even begin to fill the large kaiser roll it was on if you laid the pork out flat. I felt that I got shorted big time by Shorty's. Maybe two mistakes were made in that I didn't get hand pulled and it barely was the amount for a kids sandwich and not a jumbo.

Their only sauce was extremely bland. Imagine the dark Bulls Eye or KC Masterpiece that has been watered down so much it is without much flavor. It did absolutely nothing for the smokless, dry, minimal amount of pork. Cole slaw and fries were good though, as they should be.

So, the b-wick stew was good but needed Tabasco, salt, and pepper to kick it up a bit. Pork Q was smokeless, dry, and way short on the amount. I didn't even finish it. The only hint of smoke was in the bland sauce. You could smell smoke outside and inside which fired me up once I got there but came crashing down at the first taste.

The most expensive items is $15.50, but I won't be going back. Honestly, at least Sonny's knows how to somewhat utilize the smoking process and is much better than Shorty's. And I don't eat at Sonny's.

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  1. If this Shorty's is, indeed, part of the local chain that originated in South Miami, I like it a lot.

    But I've never had the stew or the pulled pork. I go there for the ribs, which I think are quite good. Ditto with Sonny's.

    I don't like either chain's french fries, though, but beans at both are fine with me.

    Shorty's lunch specials are terrific deals and their coupons — which appear in The Miami Herald but not the sentinel — offer even better value, imho. (The coupons may also be available online. Haven't checked lately.)

    9 Replies
    1. re: Rockin Rich

      Yes, this is the Shorty's franchise of Miami. Disclaimer: I am a tough critic on the state of Q. I expect nothing short of competition worthy BBQ. My main critcism for BBQ is the lack of proper smoking techniques used. Smoke is a flavoring technique and not just a heat source. But the average customer does not like real smoked BBQ.

      With their prices, you can definitely eat cheap. I would give the ribs a crack, but the pork is an indicator of how the rest is probably done. With the state of Q I have seen in SoFla, everything is relative of what your used to.

      1. re: freakerdude

        freakerdue makes a great point....BBQ in SoFla is relative to what you're used to....I grew up in Homestead eating at Shiver's BBQ.....Shorty was a member of the Shiver clan and the food and menus were identical.....At that time you could get "real bbq" at both.....Times have changed and for the most part you're getting mostly "grilled meats" at Shorty's....and it's OK as long as you understand that.....I eat at Shorty's once per week because their Doral location is less than a block from my office....I eat the Chick / Rib Combo, slaw and an ear of corn....and it's fine for lunchtime fare.....It's certainly not "Competition BBQ" but it's fast and OK for lunch......If I want to eat "Comp BBQ" that's a pretty rare find as restaurant BBQ goes.....But for lunch or a quick meal....Shorty's & Sonny's are just fine.....as long as you understand what it is you're getting......I'll be smoking a nice eye-round this evening with some nice oak on my Big Green Egg smoker and that won't suck!......Summertime and BBQ.....always a great subject.....

        Always love the slaw and corn at Shorty's.......

        Emac

        1. re: freakerdude

          Wonder if you'd like the fare at that Renegade place at the Hard Rock in Hollywood. Me, I found their ribs to be over-cured; it was like eating ham!

          But you ought to try the ribs at Shorty's and report back here. I'd be curious.

          I do like Lil Reds and Tom Jenkins in Ft. Lauderdale.

          Always thought Tom's (formerly of Boca) was wildly overrated.

          Do like People's in Dade, though. You?

          I mean to eat. Not compete.

          ;>)

          1. re: Rockin Rich

            I'm way up here in northern PB county and don't get down to Laud or Miami much. I personally thought the Georgia Pig in Laud. was below average as far as quality goes, but their smoking process was acceptable. Their b-wick stew was just awful. I am a Q afficianado of southern BBQ places with a lot of different styles, so my expectations are set very high. Only one out of the ~ 10 in SoFla that I have tried is worthy.

            I can pretty much tell what a place's process is from sampling one meat. My staple is pulled pork. If it is completely smokeless, then the rest of their meat should follow suit. I am confident that their ribs aren't any different than the pork barring the extreme dryness.

            1. re: freakerdude

              How to you extrapolate the quality of the ribs from the quality of the pulled pork?

              I wouldn't make that assumption, though I'm hardly an expert.

              Please enlighten me.

              1. re: Rockin Rich

                It all boils down to absolute smokless flavor. If it doesn't have any, it's not BBQ to me. If their pork is completely smokeless, so are their ribs. They supposedly have smokers but do not use them the way they should. They might as well grill their meat on a gas flame grill. The outcome is exactly the same. Park Ave. BBQ is exactly the same as Shorty's....zero smoke flavoring.

                We could go back and forth on this but its' a definitive requirement for me. BBQ to me is like what pizza is to New Yorkers. You just can't please them unless it's near what they are used to.

                Drop in to Austin's Smokehouse in Hobe Sound if you are ever around the area. BUT, most ppl who eat at the faux-Q restos would complain about too much smoke flavor.

              2. re: freakerdude

                As freakerdude wrote....everything is just relative to what you're used to.....BBQ can be so inconsistent that it can depend on the time and the day that you hit a particular place....I've had ribs at Renegade twice.....And yes...one time they were "hammy" and the other time they were great!! (LOL!)....I hit Tom Jenkins just once...the chicken was great...the ribs were a bit rubbery....but it was 2 p.m. and after the lunchtime rush....still liked the place though and would go back.....I liked People's for everything but the BBQ!.....Thought the ribs were fair at best....and they cut them in a funky way....But the "Soul Food Sides" were worth the trip......Freakerdude also wrote he expects competition level BBQ from area BBQ establishments.....And all I can say is that's tough to do....I'm a KCBS judge....I know what competition BBQ tastes like....and you pretty much have to fire up your own grill or smoker in the backyard or head out to a competition to get that level of meat and taste.....You just have to find the places that are the most consistent.....Maybe I've been lucky as everytime I've been to BBQ Beach on South Beach everything was juicy, hot and ready to be eaten!.....I've been other places and ended up getting the bum steer everytime.....Maybe it's "BBQ Karma" of some kind or other....

                EMac

                1. re: freakerdude

                  Has anyone tried Deep Down South BBQ (3101 W. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, in the Exxon parking lot)? John Linn wrote a review in this week's Broward-Palm Beach New Times. He said that the owner, Albert Houston, used to serve "competition-style" barbecue in Fort Myers. Here's the review: http://snipurl.com/3aqua

                  1. re: RickL

                    I just read his review which claims that transplants spend too much time at home whining and don't know where to find good BBQ in Florida. I've driven 60 miles plus each way just to try any so called worthy BBQ. And I have only found one out of 10 that I would consider recommending.

                    I'm not looking for competition Q per se, but rather anything that is near competition style in it's smoking process alone. If you go to DDS, pay particular attention to the smoke flavor, as the critic claims it is done right. You should typically see a nice pink smoke ring right under the bark (crust). Compare this back to Shorty's and you should then know what the difference is.

                    Any reviews of DDS are highly encouraged.

          2. To understand the smokefree issue with Shorty's, one must understand Shorty's history. I was brought up in Miami. I had the best Q at Shorty's, this was in the 70's. At that time everything they cooked was smoked. I can remember seeing and smelling the smoke from my home blocks away in Grove estates. However Dade County decided it was a health issue to have all that good smelling smoke competing w/the exhaust fumes on Dixie Hwy. So dont be so quick to ditch Shorty's. They would have had to close down if they didnt comply.

            7 Replies
            1. re: TheHalfBakedChef

              Fear the government that fears your BBQ smoke.

              I wonder when well see restrictions on home smoking.

              1. re: bkhuna

                As the old adage goes, "They'll have to pry my smoker from my cold, dead hands".

                In response to half baked chef, there are places that still do BBQ right (one recently closing in Martin Co.) and I have never heard anything about a smoke ordinance. Smokers are ablazing at a "few" PB Co. joints.

                I'd like to hear more about this Dade Co. ordinance.

                1. re: freakerdude

                  i just moved from jupiter to north palm beach and just tried shorty's. it wasnt bad at all, but it was not Dale's from up in Fort Pierce. Talk about a good pork sandwhich. Hot damn.

                  Freaker where are some other good smokers BBQ in PB county?

                  1. re: MattyG100

                    Probably McCray's, Troy's, Flaming Pit, and possibly C&C but these are BBQ stands and not restos. C&C does have two tables inside though.

                    Links to threads:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/592534

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/594280

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/551802

                    1. re: freakerdude

                      got ya! i thought we were talking resturants here. Yeah there are some boys from ATL that come down and set up near 45th and Broadway and they do it right. Got to love the roadside BBQ.

                      thanks for the links

                      1. re: MattyG100

                        Sadly, there aren't any BBQ restos that live up to my expectations in PB Co.

                        1. re: freakerdude

                          Freakerdude....join me in October in Atlanta for the "EggFest".....a gathering of about 3,000 "Big Green Egg" enthusiasts.....For $20 you can walk around and eat ALL the finely smoked, championship-caliber, REAL bbq you can eat! And it's a two-day deal!

                          Emac

            2. I went to high school and have such fond memories of Shorty's in South Miami. I was thrilled to see Shorty's in Palm Beach Gardens, and couldn't wait to go. Sadly, I was hugely disappointed. I will be the fiorst to admit that perhaps I have glamorized my 45 year old memory of the original, but the PGA version didn't even come close! The chicken was dry, the corn overcooked, and the service terrible. I won't go back.

              1. OK, so I said I wouldn't go back but I did. The owner of the PBG Shorty's has changed some things to his liking as I had read in the PB Post. The brisket sandwich was pretty good and loaded with brisket. Most of the brisket had a smoke ring but some appeared to have been nuked, as in tough with a grey color. Smoke flavor was minimal but that is what they shoot for. The brisket was worthy of a possible return.

                The brownish BBQ sauce they serve with the brisket tastes funky and kind of bitter. Their sauces on the table are much better. The spicey mixed with the sweet made a good combo. Brunsick stew was good as usual but needs some hot sauce to kick it up.

                They have a phrase that states something like, "We don't blow smoke, we smoke low and slow" or something to that effect. Maybe I will give their ribs a shot next time for the full triple play.

                3 Replies
                1. re: freakerdude

                  C'mon, FD! We're talking Shorty's here!! Returning for the oven-baked ribs? You gotta be kidding me! You? The BBQ Purist? Shorty's is what it is....a joint that serves so-so food in a hurry and consistently so! I actually like their chicken wings! The ribs? Not so much. The brisket? OK on a good day. Go there because it's next to my office 'cause it's quick. Hard to imagine you eating there! Must've been an off day! Still think you should get a Big Green Egg and eat WORLD CLASS BBQ all the time!

                  Emac

                  1. re: LargeLife

                    Must have been an off day....hehe. Let's not forget the large portions + cheap prices = great value.

                    I am currently looking to upgrade my $30 Brinkmann smoker though....

                    1. re: freakerdude

                      Toss the Brinkman!.....Butch up and get the Egg!....You'll thank me!.....Get some Blues Hog sauce while you're at it!!....You'll thank me for that too!.....I eat at Shorty's....once per week...it's a good value....but still hard to imagine you eating there given your lofty standards.....www.biggreenegg.com

                2. This location has closed. It is now open as Holy Smokes and they kept the smokers from Shorty's, serving bbq ribs, brisket, pizza, seafood, pasta, burgers, and more.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: freakerdude

                    FREAKERDUDE!!!

                    I was thinking about you again.....And now my wife is starting wonder who you are!!!!.....We stopped at Lexington BBQ in Lexington, NC this past week.....This place is featured on every Cooking Channel show about BBQ as well as Diners, Drive-Inns and Dives....Nationally renowned.....It's referred to as Lexington BBQ #1.....

                    There was at least 100 cars in the parking lot....so that seemed like a good sign.....We ordered up the chopped chunks of pork....their version of cole slaw....their BBQ Salad (salad with finely chopped pork shoulder)....hush puppies and french fries....Quite a feast!......

                    The meat is the thing at any BBQ joint....Good sides are nice....but the MEAT IS THE THING....And unfortunately we were so disappointed....There was plenty of it...But the pork shoulders tasted more like they had been steamed instead of smoked....Almost no smoke flavor.....Juicy and moist....but lean on flavor....Certainly not what we expected......We've eaten better pork at many different places.....Profound disappointment......

                    The BBQ salad was different....nice salad.....large portion....and a ton of finely chopped pork shoulder.....But not much flavor in the meat.....Much like the chopped chunks of pork shoulder that we ordered as our main course......

                    The cole slaw was "red" and tangy and very sweet......Not for everyone's taste...but different....I like "tart" tastes and this worked for me.....Fries and Hush Puppies were solid.....

                    FD....I think of you when I'm trying new places.....even though we've never met.....Unfortunately....Lexington BBQ didn't live up to its billing......

                    Take care FD....Keep searching for good BBQ!!!

                    EMac
                    Ft. Pierce, FL

                    1. re: LargeLife

                      Lexington NC is the place where they have a BBQ festival every year. Did you go on Oct 22nd? If not, check this out http://www.barbecuefestival.com/

                      I have tried 3 new places with some really good Q for the area. I wrote a post on East Coast BBQ in Pompano, one for Porky & Beth's @ Bedners in Boynton Beach in a BBQ truck in WPB thread, and one for Holy Smokes PBG, formerly Shorty's (same owner).

                      There are some good places here but you have to seek them out.

                  2. Park Ave BBQ (several locations) might be worth a visit for those lacking good BBQ in PB county. I can't debate the authenticity of their smoking techniques or any nuanced comparisons to Carolina BBQ, I'm not tuned to those criteria. But they use high quality meat for their ribs and most locations have a good beer selection. Their management seems very good, these places have a simple clean interior with a couple tvs for games and outdoor smoking areas. I eat here a few times a month. It's worth a shot for those without good BBQ.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jimmyodonnell

                      PA is average good BBQ....Restaurant BBQ......Fair to midland....edible.....But not REAL low n slow BBQ....but edible.....

                      EMac