Sweet Cheeks

If you like BBQ and meat, please, get thee to Sweet Cheeks.

Contrary to what some of my friends initially thought, Sweet Cheeks is  – nope, not my new nickname – but it is, in fact, one of the newer restaurants in town which is already sweeping Bostonians off our cold, Northeastern feet. “It’s the American south north of the Mason Dixon,” claims Tiffany Faison, chef, owner,and Top Chef alum.

It’s dry-rub Texas BBQ, ribs, brisket, chicken. It’s creamy mac and cheese, porky collard greens, salty fried okra, and sweet, sweet honey butter, slathered on generous, crumbly, golden biscuits. It’s food I want in my belly, now.

As soon as you walk in, you’re enveloped in the captivating smell of smoked meat. It’s loud, it’s packed, it’s cheerful energy pulsing throughout the space. The food is served in trays, the utensils are in a can in the middle of the table. You know it’s going to be laid-back, no-nonsense grub.

Of course the sweet tea is served on mason jars. What did you expect?

There are house-made sauces on the tables: the biggest bottle is classic barbecue, the middle-sized one is a vinegar-based sauce, and the smallest one, with the star, is the one that packs a punch: fiery hot sauce.

We ordered some fried okra to share (oh Texas, thank you for introducing me to these. Ever since I visited the Lone Star State last year, I’ve been seduced by fried pickles/jalapenos/okra). I was wondering if it came with a dipping sauce but after one bite, I knew it didn’t need anything else. The batter is light and well-seasoned, the okra clean tasting and crisp, with none of the sliminess that I associate with it.

We also ordered a bucket ‘o’ biscuits and those biscuits – oh, those biscuits! – were PHENOMENAL. All week long I found myself thinking of them and that sweet fluffy honey butter. All week long I found myself wiping saliva off my mouth.

We ordered “trays” – a choice of meat, served with one hot scoop, one cold scoop, white bread, pickles, and onions.

Beef brisket…

Pulled pork…

Pulled chicken…

And a half chicken. This was my tray.

I blanketed the chicken with hot sauce and barbecue sauce. While it actually didn’t need it (I could taste hints of maple and a tantalizing smoky flavor), I couldn’t resist the brown sugar-based barbecue sauce and the mouth-puckering hot sauce. It was also a big portion (yes, I know I ordered a half-chicken) which was perfect because I had leftovers for lunch the next day. I got some potato salad on the side (really good, with the sharp tang of mustard) and collard greens (really, really good, with little bits of meat and an almost vinegary braise). I read somewhere that a good test for a restaurant is how they do their roast chicken; in this case, the smoked chicken aced the test.

An alien took over me that night as I didn’t have room for dessert, but that only means that I will have to return soon so I can try the much-adored giant nutter butter. I also heard rumors that Sweet Cheeks serves shots in little baby mason jars – and since I’m obsessed with cocktails adorable, miniature things, I would want to try those.

My friends and I savored every bite at Sweet Cheeks. Tiffani Faison hit a home run in Boston, I think. The food is excellent, the type you remember long after your first bite. If you visit the Sweet Cheeks website, you can read the little intro where the owners state that they fell hard for Texas BBQ. I get it. With each rib, shred, crumb, and drop of their food, we can feel that love, too.

And if you’re wondering how it got the name, the chef and owner said that it came from what she and her line cooks at Rocca (which is now unfortunately closed) would say to each other when they are lagging: “We’d yell, ‘Let’s pick it up, sweet cheeks.’”

Sweet Cheeks Q on Urbanspoon

See my favorite dishes at this restaurant on Tasted Menu

One more thing –

I used a random number generator to pick two winners for my tablea (Filipino hot chocolate) giveaway:

The winners are Michelle and Kim!! Congratulations, gals! Please email me your shipping address so I can mail the chocolate :)


30 Responses to “Sweet Cheeks”

  1. #
    Lindsay @ biking before bed posted January 14, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I have been in TX almost two years and still haven’t tried fried okra!

  2. #
    Michelle posted January 14, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Bret and I have been dying to go to Sweet Cheeks…and I love the story behind the restaurant name!

  3. #
    Tracey posted January 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I could not agree more, the fried okra was superb! So much food, so good and yes you need to go back for the nutter butter – fantastic!

  4. #
    Heather posted January 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    That place sounds amazing! I want to cook some BBQ up now. And find mini mason jars.

  5. #
    Megan posted January 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    We were out running errands today, found ourselves nearby, and went for lunch! I had the ribs, which were delicious. And Jeff tried the brisket. I definitely want to go back for dinner because there are a lot more options on the dinner menu (like those biscuits!), but we had a great lunch! Oh, and the salt and pepper potatoes are ridiculously good.

  6. #
    Beth posted January 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I’ll put this on my list for my next trip to Texas. Thanks for the recommendation!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Beth, Sweet Cheeks is in Boston! :)

  7. #
    Michele posted January 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    As a native Texan here in Boston, I’m DYING for good Texas BBQ. You had me at dry rub so I’m heading my sweet cheeks over to Sweet Cheeks ASAP.

  8. #
    A Plum By Any Other Name posted January 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I’m with ya on the hot sauce. Big fan here. I used to live in the Fenway area. Probably for the best I don’t anymore. I don’t need pulled pork in close proximity. I’m just not that strong willed. ;)

  9. #
    Sacha posted January 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Oh man, every mouthwatering thing I read on Sweet Cheeks, makes me want to get there more and more. I don’t know what is taking me so long! I’m glad you had such a positive experience.

  10. #
    Sacha posted January 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Oh man, every mouthwatering thing I read on Sweet Cheeks makes me want to get there more and more. I don’t know what is taking me so long! I’m glad you had such a positive experience.

  11. #
    Simply Life posted January 15, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I’ve never heard of this- I’ll have to keep it in mind next time my family comes out to visit. THey would love this!

  12. #
    Alaina posted January 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    I have heard such great things about this place but haven’t been yet! I would gladly go if you wanted to go again! :-)

  13. #
    MelissaNibbles posted January 15, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    This is at my list of places to try in 2012! I’m dying to go here. I love mini things too. The little mason jar shots sound fun!

  14. #
    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted January 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    I haven’t heard a bad thing about Sweet Cheeks. A must go this winter for sure!

  15. #
    Marina {YummyMummyKitchen.com} posted January 16, 2012 at 2:00 am

    My hubby would LOVE this!

  16. #
    Meghan posted January 16, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I am dying to eat here! Your pics are simply amazing.

  17. #
    Daisy posted January 16, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    this is such a well written, informative review! (as always) I have been reading soooo many reviews of this place, yours really stands out. But all of them sing its praises, I definitely need to get here soon!

  18. #
    Michelle Collins posted January 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this place. Even though I don’t eat meat, I love a good BBQ place – mac and cheese, potato salad, hot sauce! Some of my favorite things. :)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted January 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      And don’t forget the biscuits! I heard the salads at Sweet Cheeks are pretty good too. And desserts :)

  19. #
    Elizabeth posted January 16, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    I really want to go. There’s so much beyond the meat: biscuits, side and definitely the nutter butter

  20. #
    Jenn from Much to My Delight posted January 17, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Oh yeah, baby. You just made my native Texan heart swell (and by “swell” I really mean narrowly avoid cardiac arrest). Nothing makes me happier than a big plate of everything you just shared. Glad you found you some good rib-stickin’ bbq in your neck of the woods. There’s nothing like it.

  21. #
    Kim K posted January 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    hurray i won! thanks bianca!

    i have heard sweet cheeks is amazing – totally worth the wait! i need to get there as soon as humanly possible.

  22. #
    Joanne posted January 18, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Next time I’m in Boston, I’ll volunteer to go here with you. I don’t need any meet, just give me some fried okra, biscuits, mac and cheese and a LARGE order of dessert. I’ll be good to go.

  23. #
    Taryn posted January 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    I still haven’t tried this place out, but it’s high up on the list. I’ve heard so many good things!

  24. #
    Kerstin posted January 22, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    I’m going to sweet cheeks tomorrow for lunch and I’m already excited! I must get the biscuits – so glad I just read your review :)

  25. #
    Seth Resler posted July 23, 2012 at 12:54 am

    Thanks for reviewing Sweet Cheeks in the premiere episode of the Find Dining podcast! It was a lot of fun and you were fantastic! Here’s a link: http://mysterymeet.org/find-dining-podcast/episode-1-sweet-cheeks-q-in-boston/

  26. #
    Nicole @ The Girl Who Ate Boston posted August 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I’ve been thinking about maybe trying Sweet Cheeks for a while now, and in my pre-dining research I stumbled upon this post. This is very helpful! Thanks :)


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