Founded in 2009 by the ambitious Kiser family, Kiser’s BBQ Shack is a new kid on the block as far as Athens barbecue is concerned; a lot of better developed and more notorious locales in town. That’s a thing of the past. Kiser’s has exploded onto the scene and a flurry of awards and accolades have followed in its wake. With a homemade pit-smoked BBQ recipe, Kiser’s brings a new element to Athens’ food scene; purely here to spread its version of barbecue. Kiser’s may be new, but it’s very, very Athens, and that’s something that will quickly impress you.
Kiser’s totes homemade barbecue recipes for just about any kind of meat. It’s menu has an extensive list of barbecued pork, beef brisket, chicken and bratwurst to sell with some fresh side dishes and sweet tea. For such a new place, it immediately surprises you how diverse the menu is. It’s clear these recipes went through a great deal of refinement before the business was even opened. Moreover, Kiser’s relies on a number of local businesses to get many of its supplies. Local farms produce some of the milk, meat and vegetables than wind up on your plate.
If you ask me, barbecue ribs set the standard for a good barbecue. Kiser’s are slow-roasted and drenched in a delicious St. Louis-style sauce. There are several options for the exact hotness of said sauce, but it’s impressively good. A hybrid of sweeter New England barbecue and tangier Memphis barbecue, it’s got the strengths of both sauces. The meat is decently tender and though you don’t get extra sauce (which is unusual for a barbecue place) your ribs come with enough sauce on them to keeping you licking your fingers.
I’m not a believer in barbecue burgers. Maybe I’ve never enjoyed a good one. Anyway, Kiser’s has a strong contender. It’s burgers are charred on the edges and very rich. In particular, the “Fire on the mountain” burger is a spicy, juicy and hearty delicious offering. Topped with pork, pepper jack cheese and vegetables, it’s delicious and very filling. Sides, too, are excellent. I tried the gooey 3-cheese macaroni and the very cool cole slaw.
A lot can be said of the service and environment here. The staff is very friendly and sociable. I was impressed by how genuinely concerned they were with whether customers were enjoying their meals. Talkative and friendly, they bring great credit to Kiser’s. And Kiser’s, I’m glad to say, brings great credit to Athens.
- Barbecue meats of all kinds are delicious here. Don’t be afraid to try something new!
- Kiser’s totes itself as a family establishment. There is a children’s menu and you’ll find people of all ages enjoying the food here.
- If you’re a big eater, consider the “boss hog challenge,” a food challenge where you must eat about three pounds of food in 30 minutes. No reward but bragging rights are a plus.