The Farmer and The Grill: A Guide to Grilling, Barbecuing and Spit-Roasting Grassfed Meat and for Saving the Planet One Bite at a Time

Farmer Shannon Hayes shares grass-fed knowledge, and all your local meat is here

Book Review

The Farmer and the Grill: A Guide to Grilling, Barbecuing and Spit-Roasting Grassfed Meat and for saving the planet one bite at a time

by Shannon Hayes (self-published, 168 pp., $21.95) available at

For weeks I've been inundated with summer-grilling story ideas complete with national product placements and recipes. Nothing really piqued my interest until I opened this cookbook by farmer Shannon Hayes. Hayes and her family raise, slaughter, and sell grass-fed livestock at Sap Bush Hollow Farm in upstate New York. This is her second book written to "help people get the most enjoyment and flavor out of the grass-fed meats they buy." (A new edition of her first book, The Grassfed Gourmet, is due out in the fall.) This slim volume is divided into six chapters: The first describes the equipment (meat thermometer!) and special techniques necessary to achieve culinary success with leaner, more firmly muscled cuts of grass-fed meats, followed by a chapter each on beef, pork, lamb, and chicken with specific techniques and recipes for each meat and a final chapter devoted to cooking Argentina-style on a parilla. Hayes developed many of the easy, accessible recipes using meats raised on her family's farm, while others are her interpretations of dishes learned on culinary fact-finding trips to the American South, France, and the beef-rich areas of Argentina. (She doesn't cover bison in this book because it wasn't available near her farm or anywhere she visited, but she says the cooking principles and temperatures are the same as for beef – bison just requires even more careful attention not to overcook it. I mention this because we have such good bison available here.) Each recipe is rated for ease of preparation, suitability for entertaining, kid-friendliness, and budget impact. In addition to her books and recipes, the author also offers cooking tips and trouble-shooting assistance for grillers on her website.

I'm every bit as impressed with Hayes' overall gastronomical philosophy as I am with her recipes. I agree completely with her credo that it is incumbent upon those of us who choose to eat meat to educate ourselves about the way the animals are raised, fed, and harvested before they appear on our table. Cultivating relationships with farmers and ranchers and buying local are the best (and tastiest) ways to accomplish that goal. Reading Shannon Hayes' book made me eager to sample grass-fed meats from Central Texas purveyors that service the Austin area. I can't wait to try the Lamb Ribs With Salmeura, Beef Short Ribs With Garlic and Cayenne, Butter­flied Chicken With Herbs, and Rosemary Garlic Pork Roast. Here is a list of area sources for grass-fed meats.

Local Sources for Grass-Fed Meats


Bastrop Cattle Co.

Cleve & Patricia Jacobs, 512/321-2725,

Cissi's Market, Wheatsville, Greenling, Bastrop 1832 Farmers Market, and online. Orders over $85 delivered free in Austin on Tuesdays.

Rasco Beef of Manor

Larry Rasco, 512/484-2745,

AFM Triangle

Indian Hills Farm

Karen & Hersh Kendall, 512/237-4792,


Full Quiver Farm

Debbie & Mike Sams, 903/498-3804

Beef and pork


Fredericksburg Grassfed Beef

Chuck & Peppi Schmidt, 830/990-9353,



Loncito's Lamb

Loncito Cartwright, 361-438-1289

AFM, SVFM, Boggy Creek Farm

Twin County Dorpers

Isabelle Lauziére & Lloyd Wendel, 830/864-4717,

Fredericksburg Farmer's Market and online.

Premium Lamb LLC

Nina Cravey,

SVFM, Round Rock, Georgetown, and Sun City farmers' markets


Peach Creek Farm

Rose & James Page,

Pork, beef, chickens, guinea fowl, and ducks in season


Richardson Farms

Kay & Jim Richardson,, 512/446-2306, Pork and beef



ThunderHeart Bison

Hugh Fitzsimmons, 210/930-0841,

AFM, SVFM, Boggy Creek Farm, Whole Foods, Wheatsville, Greenling


Finca Pura Vida

Edgar & Gayla Chaves, 979/249-3866,, Chickens, eggs, turkeys in season, beef, pork


Alexander Family Farm

Kim Alexander, 247-4455, [email protected]

Chickens, eggs, turkeys in season

By appointment at the farm

Countryside Farm

Sebastien Bonneu, 512/363-2310

Chickens, ducks, geese, and game birds in season, rabbits, feral hogs

AFM or by appointment at the farm

Dewberry Hills Farms

Jane & Terry Levan,, 253-0008

Chickens, eggs, turkeys and ducks in season, beef

SVFM, Greenling

AFM: Austin Farmers' Market; SVFM: Sunset Valley Farmers Market

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Food Reviews
Restaurant Review: LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue
Restaurant Review: LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue
The BBQ trailer-turned-brick and mortar is generally delicious but could use a more streamlined menu

Melanie Haupt, May 17, 2024

Restaurant Review: Redbud Ice House
Restaurant Review: Redbud Ice House
The latest concept from MaieB Hospitality crafts a modern Austin spin on a Texas classic

Taylor Tobin, May 10, 2024

More by Virginia B. Wood
Top 10 Savory Bites
Top 10 Savory Bites

Jan. 1, 2016

Open Secret
Open Secret
The not-so-hidden pleasures of dine

Dec. 25, 2015


grass-fed meat, grass-fed, Shannon Hayes, Sap Bush Hollow Farm, Austin Farmers' Market, Sunset Valley Farmers Market, lamb, beef, parilla

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle