Focusing on humane and sustainable, Sweet Cheeks brings local meats to the masses

(Jackson, Wyo.) - “I have been out to almost everyone’s ranch that we are working with and I have seen how these animals are raised -- I have been out there feeding them, I have been out there during branding. I have gotten to see how these animals live and just how great of a life they really do get. They get to roam free in the prairies of Teton County,” said Nick Phillips.

Phillips is the owner of Sweet Cheeks Meats, a new local business that is opening an old school butcher shop in Jackson this September. And Phillips has taken an usual journey to the butcher block.
Phillips and his wife Nora Schwartz moved to Jackson after he was transferred here as a hydroelectric power engineer to work on the Palisades Dam. After falling in love with the area, they began looking for a career that would enable them to stay permanently.
“We looked around for jobs here and then just decided to go it our own way,” said Phillips.
He originally got into butchering based on his principals in eating humanly raised meat.
“I learned butchering by building a butcher block, buying whole and half animals and processing them myself,” said Phillips. “[I did it] mostly because I got tired of buying cellophane wrapped goods from animals raised in stock yards. If we were going to eat an animal, we wanted it to be raised properly in a humane and sustainable fashion.”
He learned the trade by reading tutorials, watching videos online and taking a few classes. After he decided to quit his job and pursue this full-time, he did a 3-month apprenticeship in Reno, where he worked 60-hour weeks processing many different kinds of animals. The specialty program also taught him how to make salamis and sausages.
Last summer, Sweet Cheeks Meats launched at the Jackson Hole Farmer’s Market. This September, Sweet Cheeks Meats will open an old school butcher shop at 185 Scott Lane in Jackson. Phillips and his wife will focus on sourcing animals locally from farms and ranches including Carter Country Beef, Lockhart Cattle Co., Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch, Mead Family Ranch, Cosmic Apple, Robinson Family Farms and others.
“The nice thing is that each of those different entities do something a little bit different. We will be rotating their products through the shop so that people can get a taste of all the different ranches and what they are doing,” said Phillips.
Sweet Cheeks Meats will feature a full meat case with many different cuts. They will be offering grab-and-go specials for breakfast and lunch each day, as well as a prepared dinner. They will also have house-made specialty salamis and sausages.
“Every sausage that we make is coming off the whole animal that we are breaking down, grinding, making that sausage by hand and linking it,” he said.
Phillips says that when customers come into the shop, they will ask three questions: 1. How many people are you looking to feed? 2. How much time do you have? and 3. What type of cooking? — grilled, braised, roast, etc.
“From there, we can steer them to all of the things that are in our case and the different options that they have,” he added. “We will be introducing people to cuts they haven’t seen before."
Between now and September, you can fine Sweet Cheeks Meats at the Jackson Hole Farmer’s Market, JacksonHoleLive! concerts, and they also do private catering.
“This is something that we had a passion for that we were able to connect all of our local producers with our local community and that was the goal of it.”
Feature Photo: Nick Phillips and Nora Schwartz. h/t Nick Phillips / Pitchengine Communities
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