SEDONA, Arizona (CNN) - Instead of appealing for votes on the campaign trail, Sen. John McCain spent the weekend playing host at his rustic Arizona home - and on Sunday members of the traveling press corps were his guests.
It was a news-free zone, and a charm offensive to be sure - but also a window into the private setting and self-described oasis of the man who may be days away from mathematically clinching the GOP nomination, months after being left for political dead.
McCain greeted reporters as he tended to the grill - tongs in hand - on the deck of his ranch house. Clad in a green Maine Maritime Academy baseball hat, white sweat shirt with a photograph of his family on it, faded Levis jeans and New Balance sneakers, the presidential candidate stood over two large, sizzling barbecues, preparing baby back ribs and grilled chicken.
McCain revealed that barbecuing for guests is one of the few ways he relaxes, especially during the grueling campaign, and was eager to share his carefully honed recipe on the gas grill: baby back ribs (bought at Costco), cooked bones down with a dry rub that's a third garlic powder, a third salt and a third pepper.
The trick to not letting it dry out? Keep putting lemon juice on, the senator said.