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8 Great Reasons to Love Your Car (#8 Is an Eye-Opener)

Love your car. Don’t treat it like a red-headed stepchild. It’s a valuable asset that makes your life a lot better. The next time you feel bad about your ride, read this list for a positive reminder. 

1. Your car protects you.

Your car is a set of body armor on wheels. Could you imagine flying through the air at 70 MPH without the protective shell of your auto interior? You would be as dead as a bug on your windshield.

2. Your car feels like home.

There is something comforting about familiarity. As you spend more time with your car, it should start to feel like a second home. It’s nice to plop down in your driver’s seat after a hard day of work.

3. Your car is a work of art.

Cars are complicated machines. They are built by teams. Imagine how many people must have been involved in the creation of your vehicle. Designers, painters, welders, and assembly line workers to name a few.

4. Your car never talks back.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. Your car does talk sometimes. If something is wrong, it might express itself through a smelly odor, strange noise, or check engine light. But hey, at least it doesn’t argue about what to eat for dinner.

5. Your car takes you places.

I know a guy whose car engine died last winter. It took forever for the replacement part to arrive. He was stuck in his apartment for a month! Could you imagine? Talk about cabin fever. There’s nothing like getting stranded to make you appreciate your car.

6. Your car saves you trouble.

If you didn’t have a car, you would be completely dependent on public transportation. That’s not so bad in big cities, but it would be terrible in areas where things are spread out. You’d have to a) walk, b) ride a bike, c) beg for rides, or d) take a cab everywhere (that would get expensive fast!).

7. Your car provides freedom.

Need a break? Get someone to cover your shift and take a mini-vacation. Need to escape? Hop in your car, roll down the windows, and take a scenic drive. Hate your city? Sorry to hear it, but no one is forcing you to stay there. Relocate! None of this would be possible without your car. Feel thankful yet?

8. Your car requires care and attention.

Your car is like a dog or cat. Pets can’t take care of themselves. If they get sick, you need to take them to the vet. Cars are the same way. If your engine starts sputtering, you need to take it to a mechanic. The problem won’t go away if you ignore it. Act fast. The longer you wait, the more expensive the auto repair will be.

Love your car. Go outside and give it a big hug. Seriously! Your vehicle makes your life more wonderful. How else would you go to work, travel the world, and take the kids to practice? The next time one of your friends complains about their clunker, please share this blog to make them feel better. They will appreciate the thought.  Thanks! 

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10 Things we love about cars

There’s no end, any more than there’s an end to roads or speed or the joy of movement. But 10 reasons seems like a good start.

1. Sunday Cruise

Not every drive has to be a serious exercise in proper form and the perfect cornering line. Sometimes, when the weather’s good and the traffic’s barely there, it’s a balm to hang your elbow out the window, lean back, and just amble around with nowhere to be and nothing to do. Like jazz, it’s a uniquely American thing. And like jazz, sometimes pointlessness is the point.

2. Sounds

The rolling wallop of Can-Am cars in Turn Five at Road America, clobbering you in the chest so hard you momentarily forget to breathe. The mind-melting shriek of a modern F1 car. The labored, clattery drone of a 24 Hours of LeMons field. The lean pops of a Weber carburetor as it spits back through open throats. The high-rpm whir of just about any V12’s starter motor. The heavy clunk of a Hurst shifter in a Sixties Camaro; the alchemic clack of the lever in an old Ferrari; the violent whunk of the sequential ‘box in a 911 GT3 Cup. The groan of old English leather. The creak of old German leather. Porsche 911 doors (tick-thump) versus Shelby Cobra doors (tuk) versus big Cadillac doors (God’s medicine cabinet). The full-throttle, rise-of-the-machines brup of a twin-clutch Volkswagen GTI upshift. The keening future-whisper of a Tesla at full throttle. And all you have to do is listen.

3. Family Bonding

When I was in high school, my best friend’s father was a professional pilot, a guy who lived and breathed flying. He wanted his son to love it the way he did, so he pushed from day one. By the time my friend was ready to fly solo, he was so unnerved that he got lost and flew a state away. The FAA came down on him hard, and he never flew again. His dad was crushed.I was lucky. My father was always in his shop, but there was never any pressure. He just did things—tearing apart an MG, tinkering with an old Alfa—not inviting me in, but always making it obvious I was welcome. As I got older, I realized our connection was rare, but I tried to not think about it, lest I screw it up. As far as I can tell, he did the same. Most of the real things I learned about my father—his wants, his dreams, how he behaved when no one was looking—I picked up by accident, at a track or under a car. Like any relationship worth having, you can’t plan it. But if you’re lucky enough to find it, don’t let go. —SAM SMITH

4. Oddballs

Anti-automotive-establishment cars have to exist, because they help define normal. They come in many forms: one-offs, experiments, the car that came before The Car. They’re the product of engineers and designers acting differently, either for the sake of difference or simply as a byproduct of nonstandard thinking. Sometimes they’re the first to try an idea; others, the last to give one up. And just because it’s cool and actually works—the rubber drive belts of a DAF! the hydropneumatic Citroëns!—doesn’t mean it’s going to stick around. The Isettas and Isuzu Vehicrosses and a thousand others long gone? It’s great that they existed, even if they were terrible. To oddballs, to innovation, and to each his own.

5. Smells

Of course, that undefinable new-car smell. The deep redolence of leather. The tropical mellowness of paste wax. The sharp whiff of gasoline and the deeper undertone of oil. The chemical bite of tire smoke. The winey reek of used F1 tires. The mineral tang of hot brakes. The caustic, dangerous, and physical impact of nitromethane exhaust. The mustiness of tired wiring. The cloying bitterness of a worn engine. That old-car smell.

6. Finding Good Roads

Grab a good atlas or ask the locals. Follow the water or other folks in interesting cars. Or just get out there and take a few random turns. Discovery is one of the best reasons to leave your driveway, and the reward is greater than a few miles of entertaining curves and a new destination. It’s the sheer joy of hearing yourself say “I never knew this was here.”

7. Engines We Love

4-Cylinder: Honda K-Series EASILY SURPASSED 100 HORSEPOWER PER LITER. VIRTUALLY UNKILLABLE. 5-Cylinder: Audi Turbo BLATTY ODDBALL. OVER 700 HP IN RACE TRIM. 6-Cylinder: BMW Straight Six SILKY. REV-HAPPY. DREAMY. 8-Cylinder: Chevy Small Block V-8 AMAZINGLY SIMPLE YET HIGHLY EFFECTIVE

8. Racing Drivers

Andretti (A), because one man can win it all. Gurney, because one man can do it all. Moss (B), because you don’t have to be the champion to be known as the best. Jackie Stewart, because you can’t enjoy your victories if you’re not here. Michael Schumacher, because sometimes, the most advanced racing technology is a human being. Tony Stewart (C), because even today, there are men who aren’t afraid to speak their minds. And Senna (D), because he was Senna.

9. Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

It’s reduced crashes in this country by 35 percent. It automatically modulates the brakes and throttle to help you stay in control. But there’s another upside: With ESC, engineers are free to make cars handle safely and well. Before it, most vehicles were designed to understeer, or plow their front tires, when you went too fast. Oversteer, or the (dangerous, beautiful) rear-end drift, was avoided at all costs. Now, in the form of the ESC “off” button, there’s opt-in fun. Machines like the four-wheel drive Audi R8 can make dry pavement feel snow-covered yet stay sane when you’re running out for milk.

10. Junkers

At its optimistic best, the 2001 Toyota Echo was a bare-bones clown car best suited to college girls and the blind. The one I had in New York City—bought from a friend’s mother for a dollar—had devolved to a beat-up, semicomatose pile of sagging plastic. It was perfect. A complete junker asks nothing of you, and you’re happy to give it. It has bumpers meant for bumping, crank windows, a broken radio. It teaches a Zen-like acceptance of inevitable misfortune and reinforces the importance of letting go. Dents from street parking? Beauty is an illusion. Stuck window? Rain never killed anyone. Car on fire? Fix it and move along. If cars mean freedom, junkers mean freedom from care. That defeated-looking Echo soldiered through all five boroughs, spirited my dog and me out of the city on weekends, and even made it across the country when I moved to Los Angeles. When I sold it there, for a dollar, to a friend, I asked the new owner—an otherwise successful man—what he planned to use it for. “Well, you know, just getting here and there,” he said. “I don’t want a car I need to think about too much.” —Josh Condon

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10 Fuel Saving Tips To Get You Through the Month

1. Treat Your Car to Some TLC

A well-tuned engine can improve fuel economy, so follow your car manufacturer’s recommendation on servicing making sure to check your tyre pressure regularly. (every two weeks should do it). The lower the tyre pressure, the more fuel your car will use.

2. Make fewer trips

Try to avoid lots of little short journeys and combine all your errands into one big trip to give your engine the chance to heat up. Driving a car with a cold engine that has been parked for a few hours uses much more fuel for the first five miles or so.

3. Turn ‘er off

Idling in rush hour traffic gets you nowhere, although you’ll soon see your duel gauge move down. Turn the engine off when you’re in a queue, or waiting for someone. Every time that you stop and start in traffic, your car needs first gear and a huge amount of fuel to get moving again.

4. Don’t drive in the rush hour

Sometimes stop start isn’t an option, so the best solution is to avoid rush hours if you can and you’ll really notice the improvement in fuel consumption.

5. Shift that extra weight

Just like a person, your car needs more fuel to move around more weight. Would you wear a heavy rucksack if you didn’t need to…? Don’t cart around those golf clubs until you’re ready to use them.

6. Not a fan

Air-conditioning is sure fire way to use up a lot of fuel. It may be tempting to leave on all year round to stop the windows misting but try it keep it off when it’s not hot.

7. Stick to the speed limit

Not only are you breaking the law by speeding, but you’re also using much more fuel, so arriving early is merely a false economy.

8. Put your windows up

When driving on the motorway, opening your windows or sunroof can heavily impact the aerodynamics and your fuel economy. As a rule, anything that makes wind noise as your car goes along is making your car more expensive to run.

9. Easy Does It

Accelerating smoothly and driving at a constant speed in the highest gear is ideal to lower your engine speed and your fuel bill.

10. Drive Smart

Slow down early at traffic lights rather than a harsh stop and always leave a sensible distance between your car and the car in front to give you ample time to brake evenly.

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YOU MAY NOT REFUSE A BREATHALYZER OR BLOOD TEST

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in South Africa. “A traffic officer, appointed as a peace officer in terms of section 334 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (GKR. 159 Government Gazette 6295 2 February 1979, as amended) has for purposes of the CPA the same powers as a police officer.  He may therefore request a doctor or registered nurse to draw blood,” according to Arrive Alive, a national road safety campaign run by the South African police and traffic officials.

The legal blood-alcohol limit is 0.05g/100ml but the legal breath-alcohol limit is 0.24mg/1000ml of  breath. During clinical trials, all participants (regardless of gender) exceeded the limit after two beers. Some people can even exceed the limit after a single drink, depending on the drink and body type. With this in mind, it is never worth it to get behind the wheel of your car after even one drink. A single drink will still affect your reaction time and driving ability. If you’re planning a night out, it’s much safer to arrange a designated sober driver, or take a taxi.

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How to Present Your Firearm at a Roadblock (and not get shot)

If you have a firearm in your vehicle, you need to ensure that you present it in a non-confrontational, peaceful manner. Here are some tips to help you handle the situation calmly:

  • Make sure that you carry your firearm licence and competency certificate with you at all times.
  • You will need to verbally confirm your ID number and, if you can remember it, your gun’s serial number.
  • You will need to tell the officer exactly where you keep the gun in the car.
  • If the officer requests to see the firearm, allow them to open and inspect your car.
  • If you carry the gun on your person, ask for permission to reach for it.
  • Answer all questions calmly.
  • Do not point the gun at anyone, or make any jerky or erratic movements. Do everything slowly, with utmost confidence and respect.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, discharge the weapon.
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Formal “Blue Light” Protocol for motorists developed by JPSA and RTMC

Not many South Africans would feel comfortable pulling over to the side of the road at night at the request of a car flashing blue lights. At the same time we know that ignoring the instructions of a police officer is an offence. Where does that leave you, driving home alone at night with blue lights flashing in your rear mirror? What do you do to stay on the right side of the law and protect yourself against criminals? Here is your answer. The Road Traffic Management Corporation and Justice Project South Africa have developed a protocol to be followed by any person who feels uncomfortable stopping for vehicles with flashing blue lights’.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation and Justice Project South Africa: Blue light protocol
Motorists are advised to study this advisory carefully and to commit the procedures to memory.  If you follow the instructions to a tee there should be no reason for you to become endangered by either legitimate or bogus police.

If you are followed by a vehicle, marked or not, with blue flashing lights and it indicates for you to pull over, particularly at night, you would be wise not to do so if you feel uneasy or unsure that they are genuine police.  Instead, it may be wise for you to indicate that you wish to proceed to a police station or public place before stopping. 

However you must bear in mind that not stopping for genuine police can immediately escalate the situation and may endanger you further if you do not take extreme care to abide by ALL OF the rules laid down here.

When indicating to the occupant/s of the vehicle following you that you wish to have them follow you to a place of safety do the following:

1. Stay calm

2. Slow right down and turn your hazard lights on and then:

  • Extend your right arm out of the window with an tightly outspread hand extended into the air with your forearm at 90 degrees to your shoulder
  • Gesture for them to follow you by moving your forearm forward and back to the upright, and repeat this action several times
  • Drive at NO MORE THAN 40km/h and proceed DIRECTLY to the CLOSEST police station or public place with CCTV cameras in operation, like a service station forecourt
  • DO NOT drive to your own, or a friend of yours’ home, as this may endanger you and your loved ones if those following you are not genuine police

3.Go to a police station

  • If you have a cell phone with you, call 10111 and tell them that you are being followed and are proceeding to the closest police station or public place
  • If you are not sure where the closest police station is you can ask the 10111 operator
  • If possible provide the registration number of the vehicle that is following you so it may be established if it is a legitimate police vehicle or not
  • If you go to a police station, when you get there and if there are no police personnel in sight outside, hoot for as long as it takes for someone to come out
  • Remain in your vehicle with the engine running, in gear and your windows wound up until such time as police from the station come out to you
  • Cooperate fully with police personnel from that police station and the officers from the vehicle that followed you and explain immediately that you felt intimidated and therefore proceeded directly to the police station

4.Go to a service station

  • If you go to a service station, drive onto the forecourt (centre of the service station) where the pumps or the convenience shop are so you will be in full view of the cameras
  • Cooperate fully with the officers from the vehicle that followed you and explain immediately that you felt intimidated and therefore proceeded directly to the service station
  • No matter what, if you are shouted at, do not respond by shouting back.  Also be careful not to respond to any potentially violent acts by resisting in any way or becoming violent yourself.  Remain calm and respectful and explain that the reason you did not stop immediately was because you were not comfortable that they were genuine police.

Media enquiries may be directed to:
Gilberto Martins – Acting CEO of the RTMC – 083 387 4436 – gilbertom@rtmc.co.za
Howard Dembovsky – Chairperson of JPSA

There is a massive difference between evading, or fleeing from police and having them follow you to a place of safety.

Both members of the public and genuine police should feel comfortable with this protocol, since it offers protection from attack in an isolated place by moving the stop to a public place where witnesses and assistance should be around.

WARNING: If you follow ALL of these steps precisely and the people pursuing you start shooting at you do everything that you can to evade them and get away without endangering yourself and others.  Phone police immediately. 

Disclaimer: This protocol is released as is in the public interest and neither JPSA nor the RTMC can accept any liability whatsoever for any deviation from it by any person.

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Your guide to stopping at roadblocks

A police force tainted by unscrupulous cops makes stopping at roadblocks nerve wracking and sometimes even dangerous. Knowing how to handle the situation can go a long way towards protecting yourself and your family. Howard Dembrovsky, the national chairperson of the Justice Project South Africa, advises the following:

Only stop if it’s safe for you
If a roadblock has been set up late at night or in a secluded spot with no other vehicles present, it is advisable for any motorist, but especially females, to use the Blue Light Protocol, says Dembrovsky.

The Blue Light Protocol has been proposed by the Justice Project to protect motorists from harassment by police officers. It involves slowing down, putting on your hazards, indicating that the police should follow you, and then driving slowly to the nearest police station or petrol station with CCTV cameras in operation. You can read about the protocol tommorow.

However, Dembrovsky caution that you shouldn’t use the protocol once you have already stopped and engaged with the police, as this could be seen as resisting arrest.

Understand if it’s an official roadblock
There are two different types of roadblocks. The first are informal roadblocks set up at random by the police. The second are K78 roadblocks, which are approved by the provisional commissioner and possibly policed by the traffic police, the South African Police Service and even South African Revenue Services officials.

In a K78 roadblock, the police are entitled to search your vehicle and can even go to a full body search if they have reason to suspect that you are hiding something. You can ask to see the authorisation proving that the roadblock is legitimate, but this does escalate the situation immediately, and our experience has shown that the situation can get nasty fast.

Simply put, it is better to comply than to resist whether it is an unofficial or official roadblock.

Dealing with outstanding traffic fines 
According to Dembrovsky, there is no provision in South African law that allows for the police to set up roadblocks and demand that you pay your outstanding fines. There is only a provision for a warrant to be issued for your arrest if you do not appear in court for a criminal summons, which can also be extended to the non-payment of traffic fines, but police at a roadblock would not have these warrants on their person.

Regardless, the South African police persist in establishing illegal roadblocks that use license plate recognition to check whether you have any outstanding fines. While the process itself may be illegal, if the fine is legitimate, the best way to deal with this situation is simply to pay what’s owed.

Accept a breathalyzer test
If a testing point for drunk driving has been set up, Dembrovsky says that you aren’t legally obliged to agree to a breathalyzer, but that you should. This is because if you don’t comply, the police have grounds to arrest you and perform a blood test.

In South Africa, the legal limit for breath alcohol is 0.24mg per 1 000ml or a blood alcohol limit of 0.05g per 100ml. The police will sometimes exchange one limit for another to persuade you that you are over the limit after you’ve been breathalysed, says Dembrovsky.

For this reason, he advises all South Africans who intend to drive to avoid alcohol altogether. In this way, there can be no dispute about whether or not you are over the limit, he says.

Gather evidence if need be

Should you find yourself in a situation where your rights are being violated, take down as much evidence as you can. For instance, the officer’s badge number or the vehicle number that is on the side of their patrol car. In South Africa you have the right to film (or record) the officers that you believe are acting unlawfully – this is a good way to gather evidence.

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8 best ways to protect your car in hot weather

We all know that the sun gives off UV light that damages our skin, but do you also know that it can damage your car? Living in Singapore where the summer season is all year round, you need to be better prepared to protect your beloved car from sun damage!

1. Use windshield sun shade.

Sun Damage 1

Too much sunlight will cause your dashboard and steering wheel to suffer if you park your car under the sun. To protect the interior of your car, use a windshield sun shade to reduce the heat that’s beaming down. You may also choose to use one for your rear windshield.

2. Consider tinted windows.

Sun Damage 2

You could consider tinting your windows as an option, if you frequently park your car in the sun. Your front windshield and two front side windows should allow 70% of light through, while the rear windows and rear passenger windows require at least 25%. Do also note that front windshield tint shouldn’t obstruct the IU transactions on ERPs.

3. Park in the shade.

Sun Damage 3

Park your car in an indoor car-park or shady spot whenever possible. This is the best way to protect your car’s paintwork and also reduce the heat damage to your interior.

4. Do a monthly check on your tyre pressure.

Sun Damage 4

When you’re constantly driving in hot weather, your tyres tend to inflate due to the rising temperature. And when your inflated tyres come into contact with the hot road surfaces, the added friction combined with high speeds will cause your tyres to blowout easily! That is why you need to perform checks on your tyre pressure at least once a month to ensure that your tyres are correctly inflated.

5. Clean your interior periodically.

Sun Damage 5

Dust combined with the heat can fade and weaken your car’s interior. To protect your interior components and the upholstery, conduct regular cleaning to prevent potential damages. Keep in mind to use cleaning products that are intended for automobile use, or you may also use coffee filter or olive oil.

6. Invest in paint protection film.

Sun Damage 6

To protect for the exterior from sun damage, you may consider investing in a paint protection film kit that doesn’t interfere with the beauty of your car. This invisible shield can also protect your car from small dents, sand and minor scratches!

7. Wax your car.

Sun Damage 7

Use a protective wax at least twice a year to lock the natural oils into the paintwork. Waxing also provides an extra layer of protection for your exterior from the sun’s rays!

8. Check your coolant regularly.

Sun Damage 6

Fluids in your car get used up faster in hot weather conditions and this increases the risks of damage to your car. If the fluid levels are low, top up your coolant when necessary. Do note that you shouldn’t open the cap when the car is still running hot!

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Braaied Crayfish

Serves 4

  • 4 crayfish

Garlic Butter

  • half a bulb of garlic
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • olive oil, to drizzle
  • 125g butter
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 30g fresh parsley, finely chopped how many tbsp?
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Method

  1. Cut the crayfish in half. Clean, remove the vein, rinse and pat dry.
  2. Preheat the oven to 150°C.
  3. Season the garlic cloves with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the bulb in aluminum foil and roast until soft for about 10 minutes. Once cooked, squeeze the flesh out of the garlic.
  4. Place the garlic, butter, lemon zest, juice and parsley into a food processor and blend well. Spread the garlic butter evenly over the crayfish halves and braai them flesh side up and then down for about 5 minutes per side.
  5. Serve the crayfish with the remaining butter and the lemon wedges.

Wine Suggestion: Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc

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10 Ways To Make Your Brakes Last Longer

One of my favourite recipes from Jan Braai’s new soft cover edition of his first book Fireworks.

The bone and the nice layer of fat make this cut ideally suited to a slow and gentle braai and those same two reasons make this a very tasty cut of meat. While you can braai a lamb loin chop and most steaks in less than 10 minutes, this dish gives you the opportunity to actually spend time around the fire while you are braaing. Once it is braaied and while it is resting before you carve it, a rack of lamb also makes an impressive centrepiece on your table.

What you need (feeds 3–4)
rack of lamb (8 to 9 rib chops per rack)
olive oil
oregano, rosemary or thyme
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
meat thermometer

What to do
Ask your butcher to prepare the rack of lamb for braaing. Importantly, he should use his meat saw to make a small cut through the backbone between each rib bone so that you can easily carve the rack into individual chops. In addition, he could do the following:

French the rack, which means to clean the tips of each bone. Ask him to French it just slightly, so that he doesn’t cut away half the meat. As shown in the photograph, you want the tip of each bone to be clean so that you are left with an attractive rack with meat that comes off the bone easily.

Remove the membrane on the bone side of the rack.

Cut a crosshatch pattern into the layer of fat on the outside which makes it easier to braai and makes you look like the type of expert who uses this book.

Once back at home, pour a thin layer of olive oil on the meat and sprinkle with the salt, pepper and herb(s) of your choice. Use your recently washed hands to rub these condiments into the meat. It’s up to you whether or not you rest the meat after this before you braai it. The meat should be at room temperature when you start the braai, so take it out of the fridge when you light the fire.

A rack of lamb is a pretty impressive, enjoyable piece of meat to braai. It’s somewhere between braaing a lamb chop and a lamb rib, and you should do it over hot coals. Take your time. A small rack can be ready in 20 minutes but a big one can take up to 40 minutes. This range in braai time comes down to wide variations in size and is also a question of how aggressively your rack was Frenched and whether it was at room temperature or straight from the fridge when you started braaing it. For most of the braai time, the rack will face fat-layer side or rib-bone side down, but also braai the rack standing on the flat-bone side at times.

The meat is ready when the internal temperature reads 63C in the middle of the thickest part. If you don’t own a meat thermometer, rather remove the meat too early than too late. If any or all of the chops need more braaing when you cut them, you can always return them to the fire as individual chops.

Let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting.