John Lattuca, Canadian fan of Slap Yo Daddy BBQ makes Jack 2012

Michelle Kreker, 8, at the Winnipeg Free Press Pit Masters Championship.  Photo from

It never ceases to amaze me how my BBQ journey has touched and influenced so many people around America and the world.  Many folks get to know me and learn about the Slap Yo Daddy style of minimalistic barbecue, where less-is-more, through my website, forum postings, blog entries, Facebook, barbecue recipes, YouTube, TV shows, classes, and interviews.  I often get emails from total strangers telling me how I’ve made a difference in their lives.  This email I received from John Lattuca is a very unique one.  The Jack Daniels Invitational is considered by many pitmasters to be the Mount Everest of barbecue and is the dream of many barbecue teams to be invited.  Well, John gets to go there with his very first Grand Championship win and only his second cook.  Way to go John!  Job well done!  I spoke to John and am looking forward to meeting him as SYD will also be in Lynchburg in October.  Here is his email with minor edits for brevity.

—– Forwarded Message —–
From: John Lattuca <>
To: Harry <>
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 12:57 PM
Subject: Re: BBQ Classes

Hi Harry,

We chatted briefly last November. I never could make it out to California. I’ve since learned a lot about barbecue and you remain my ultimate hero. Two weekends ago, I competed in my first event and was lucky enough to come out with a GC. It was a qualifier to The Jack. So on my second ever cook I will be competing at The Jack. Can you believe that? I know how lucky and fortunate I am.

You were certainly my biggest influence. I would have never attempted to fly across the country and compete with Weber Kettles and . . .   However, I said if Harry can do it on one cooker, it’s possible. The interview you did on the Virtual Weber Bullet website, really helped. I must have read it 10 times.

I got 4 calls at my first event it was truly a dream day. While my appearance to The Jack came quickly, I did travel 25,000 miles last year and judged 17 KCBS events, but I know I may have no business competing against you and all the other established pro teams. Harry, I don’t think I will be taking anymore classes anytime soon. However, if there was one, I’d love to take yours.

I live in Canada and events are 7-8 hours away. So as part of my strategy (to be able to afford competing) I’ve chosen to become the ultimate minimalist as you have. I’m cooking on Weber Kettles . . . (it allows me to be very mobile, no trailer to pull and I can fly anywhere). My whole gear was shipped in 5 boxes and that’s with 2 cookers. At my first event, I had no idea it would be so windy. So thought of you and almost went back to U-Haul Rental and get big truck to shield me, but settled on a cargo van.

Today, I got an invite from Fred Bernardo, about an SYD class you’ll be giving at his place in Pennsylvania on March 9th and 10th in 2013.  I’ve already taken a class at his outdoor garage . . .   Bring your mittens and that chicken hat… for sure.   I’d love to take one of your classes this winter but your classes seem to be all filled up. Do you have any other classes in Feb or March that may be coming up? That are not posted?

At The Jack, I’ll be competing under, “Weekend Warrior BBQ”, it’s my hope I may run into you there. I promise I won’t pepper you with questions. I may be in the International section, if I don’t get to run into you, know I’m rooting for you . . . umm maybe reserve GC. 😉

Good Luck!


Grand Champion and SYD Fan John Lattuca.  Photo from