Lamb and Petanque

I’ve had a long love affair with lamb. It all started when I was 12 years old. My parents took my sister and I to Lake Chelan to visit my Aunt and Uncle’s family. My Aunt had a couple of young lambs that were being raised for wool. My sister was quite taken with them. Unbeknownst to my sister and I during the night the neighbor’s dog broke into their pen and killed one. That day my parents disappeared for a few hours and came back from the butchers with what they informed us was beef. Trusting as I was I took it at face value, that is until a few months later.

One Sunday my Mother was preparing dinner. Mom what are you cooking it smells delicious, I said? Shhh, she replied. It’s the baby lamb your sister was petting at your Aunt and Uncle’s.  It was at that point I learned the rest of the story and “promised" not to say anything to my little sister.

That evening we sat down for dinner. Hey Mom, this is the best roast beef I have ever had. Then I let out a long loud baahhhhh. I can still feel the pain in my shins from where my mother kicked me but it was worth it. From then on my mother would prepare lamb on special occasions. I have continued the practice for my family whenever I have the chance.

Next month on the 23rd of September the Walla Walla Petanque Club will have an open house. Locals are encouraged to drop on by and give the Provencal game a try. We will also have French fare to go along with the game. I will be making my favorite recipe of grilled leg of lamb seen below.


Provencal Grilled Leg of Lamb


1 bone in leg of lamb

5 cloves of garlic finely diced

2 tablespoons fresh thyme

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons fresh lavender

Salt and Pepper


Directions:  Take the leg of lamb and butterfly it. Set the bone aside and rub salt and pepper on both sides of the lamb. Then season both sides with the rosemary, thyme, garlic and lavender. Next place the bone back inside the lamb and roll the lamb back around the bone and tie the lamb up with kitchen twine. The lamb should look like you never butter flied it. Let rest for 2 hours. About 45 minutes before cooking get your Charcoal grill going or preheat your gas grill. I prefer using lump charcoal for cooking. When the brickets are red hot pile them on one side of the grill or heat on side of the gas grill.

Place the lamb over the direct heat and sear. This should take about a minute on each side. Next move the lamb to the side of the grill away from the heat. Place an oven thermometer in the center of the thickest part of the lamb (don’t have the thermometer touch the bone).  I cook with the lid off the bbq and add brickets as needed. Towards the end I may place the lid back to keep in the heat. I cook until the temp reads 130 degrees F (cooking time may take 1.5 to 2.5 hours).

Finally I pull the lamb off the grill and tent with foil and let rest for 20-30 minutes. Slice up and serve with a side of petanque.