Long before the first fireworks are lit, plenty of folks began firing-up their grills on the Fourth of July.
For some reason, cookouts are a popular part of this summertime holiday. The smell of charcoal fires began drifting through Gulfport's Jones Park very early Wednesday morning.
"Oh yeah. Oh yeah! Now that's what you call some good ribs there."
Charles Taylor isn't kidding. His barbecued ribs are grilled to perfection. Part of the secret is a careful blend of barbecue sauces and dry spices. But timing is also critical.
"We normally to about an hour maybe with ribs. We kind of look at it and flip it a little bit and stick it a little bit. We know when it's just right. We know when that meat turns. We know when it's just right," Taylor said.
Alfred Pickens and family came down from Hattiesburg to enjoy the holiday. A cookout in Jones Park is the perfect choice for Fourth of July food.
"And I have barbecue chicken, barbecue ribs and baked beans."
Melissa Hess has plenty of mouths to feed. But she brought along most every grill meat imaginable.
"Hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken. And pretty much that's about it. And smoked sausage."
Like most grill masters, she relies on a secret sauce. Something simple does the trick.
"A little Creole seasoning and barbecue sauce. That's the key. And keeping an eye on it."