BBQ-OHOLIC!!! – Alumni Dan Ronchetti of BC Smokers

Intro by Donna Fong, Butchers Daughter BBQ

If you are a former student of the Slap Yo’ Daddy 101 BBQ class, you may have heard Harry describe one of his most enthusiastic former students.  Harry likes to share his story about Dan Ronchetti of BC Smokers, because Dan is the prime example of a student turned BBQ addict.  I’m not entirely sure if he was already one before he took Harry’s class, but he certainly qualifies for one now.

Many times, we get students because spouses want their partners to become better cooks in the backyard.  This was one such case three years ago.  Dan’s wife sent him to one of Harry’s classes and his life has never been the same since. Harry likes to talk about Dan, who, two weeks after his class, cooked hundreds of pounds of BBQ for the volunteers at the San Dimas rodeo.  He practiced diligently for two weeks, cooking more meat than most would in a year’s time. I recall going back and forth with Dan answering his questions as best we could. When it was all over, he told us what a great success it was and we were so happy for him. Harry doesn’t recommend that his students ramp up quite that fast, but Dan’s story is inspiring. Dan also competed in Harry’s first backyarder event and has even started building one of a kind custom pits.

Now Dan is a staple at contests and shares his love of BBQ freely.  He has mentored many individuals since then and expressed his unique style with custom smokers that are lovingly designed. We are proud to have Dan as part of our alumni family because he spread BBQ love many times over in the community we live in.  Keep it up!

* * *

Hello my name is Dan, and I am a BBQ-OHOLIC!!!

This is my story……

BC Smokers paint 103

It all started out simple enough watching TV. Remote in one hand, glass of iced tea in the other and flipping through the channels …and then it happened. I stopped on the Food Network channel. The show was BBQ Pit Masters. I thought well I like BBQ and I think I will watch this.

I was amazed at not only what they were cooking…but wait…WHAT ARE THEY COOKING ON??? Smokers? What is a smoker? I thought you BBQ on a grill! I ended up watching that first season hoping they would show more of the smokers and less of the food.

After it was over, I went to Lowe’s and purchased a vertical propane smoker on sale at the end of the summer season for $99.00. I thought being a retired meat cutter (butcher) how hard can it be to smoke a little meat? If those guys on TV can do it then so can I!   I brought the smoker home and read the little instruction book on how to use the smoker.

Six months later I was still trying to cook something, really anything but much of the time what came out looked like it was a hockey puck. Most of the time, my BBQ was burnt on the outside and raw in the middle.

However, when it came to pork butts…I finally got a handle on it. Or so I thought… My family would come over and try my latest creations. They would be kind and say it was “good”. Looking back, I realized they were being nice because pulled pork should not have to be sliced apart! It should be pulled part…I learned that later!

My birthday was coming up and my wife, who has put up with past meats experiments (in all fairness I could not call them BBQ) paid for me to take a BBQ class by some guy named Harry Soo! What does a guy named Harry Soo know about BBQ? Her reply was simple. “Well, he obviously knows more than you do!” said my wife. With that I put my pride aside and just said, thank you.

The Friday before my 1st class (yes, I said 1st class – because I ended up taking it twice), I cooked a pork butt. This was just in case this guy, Harry, did not know what he was talking about and I could come home to some BBQ after the class.

Well not only did I eat the best real deal BBQ of my life at the class, but I learned that everything I was doing at home WAS WRONG! I MEAN EVERYTHING! At the end of the class, we got to take home sample box of what was cooked that day. Now, remember I cooked a pork butt earlier before class. So when I got home…I did not say a word to my wife…I just walked over to the fridge pulled out the whole pork butt I had cooked and threw it in the trash! By now my wife is screaming, “Stop, what are you doing?” I just look at her and said to sit down and try this pulled pork. She took a bit and said ““OMG”. This is Heaven. Now I know why you threw yours in the trash!!”

From that moment on I became a BBQ addict. I have been chasing BBQ excellence ever since.

Two weeks later after taking Pitmaster Harry Soo’s class, I volunteered to cook BBQ at the San Dimas Rodeo. We cooked for all of the volunteers that work the rodeo like the police, fire department, working cowboys and all support staff about 250 people per day for a 2-day event. Farmer John donated 32 pork butts, 30 racks of ribs, 60 lbs. of hot links. I had to wrap the hot links in bacon and smoke that right! I was able to pull together 2 other friends to help me smoke the event. Patrick (who ended up taking Harry’s class) and Ben, the three of us had 4 smokers running for 2 days straight!!

Cook area setup for Rodeo cook

Cook area setup for Rodeo cook


Well, if ignorance is bliss, then I was in heaven. Some people told us we could not pull this off as I have never catered anything before in my life. It was a lot of hard work but also so much fun. The response we got from our BBQ was great! We had lots of working cowboys come up to us and say that it was the best BBQ they had since they left home. When you hear that, it makes it all worthwhile. We have been volunteering to cook at the San Dimas Rodeo ever since.

Dan's Rodeo Cooking Crew

Dan’s Rodeo Cooking Crew


Since then, I have gone on to enter many professional competitions and have proudly walked away with my share of awards. However, one of my other passions is making custom BBQ smokers! I will be forever in debt to Harry and Donna for all of their support and knowledge they have given me. They shared their experience with so many with gratitude and kindness. I thank you!!

Yes, my name is Dan and I am a BBQ-OHOLIC!

Alumni Dan Ronchetti of BC Smokers

Alumni Dan Ronchetti of BC Smokers (Photo courtesy of Brenda Magee)