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Pellet Smokers item created by bmudd14474, Jan 30, 2012
Pros - Easy to use, awesome food, built like a tank, customer service
Cons - H E A V Y
This is one amazing cooker. I have been cooking on a Weber for years and I am disappointed I haven't bought a Yoder sooner. It can grill a better steak then my Weber and it smokes the best meat I have ever cooked. If you're in the market for a new cooker this is the right decision, no doubt!
Pros - I can "literally" cook food with it, but heck, I can do that in my fire ring in my backyard.
Cons - Lid leaks like a sieve!
I am the unfortunate owner of a YS640, and must say that mine is near junk. It leaks almost more smoke out of the left side of the cover than the smoke stack puts out, which is flipping absurd. Heck, the local Ace is constantly cooking on their Louisiana cookers they sell, and I have yet to see one leak like this thing does, which is embarrassing. I chose Yoder because I could visually see a major difference in the quality between the Louisiana vs the Yoder. Unfortunately one can't tell exactly what the seal is like when it is wrapped, as mine was, and thus all I had to go on was the demo Yoder unit at the reseller, which looked like it had an excellent sealing top cover. Unfortunately mine is nothing like that one. Needless to say, my heat control is shot, quality is in the dumps, and don't get me started on value given this unit's condition. I also purchased a probe port since I cook via a temp probe in all my meats, and God only knows how that is to be installed. They are so lacking in organization, they don't include any directions...just a port probe wrapped in tape in an envelope is all I got? Who knows which direction it is installed in, and it would be nice not to have to guess where to drill.
*Update* - I have since been sent a video, which in the video I noticed a screw that holds the hinge onto the unit. That screw couldn't be more lamely placed, and BINDS the door that hits it when it is shut, which is why the door looks bend and is leaking heat and smoke out the left side of it so much. Yoder wants pictures, so I have to mess with that now. Would have been nice to have someone use their brain when they designed it, and have NOT put a screw in a place that would bind the door? Just slap it together I guess...let the customer sort it out.
Pros - Easy, even for me
Cons - wife wishes it was built in (I know....it can be!)
Many products have a problem at some time in their life. My Yoder 640 was one of those products. Here is what is different. You all know that sinking feeling when you have a problem....and get ready to call customer service. We sort of steel ourselves to be prepared for the response....or actually, lack thereof. NOT AT YODER. After fully explaining my problems to Joey, he and his company completely exceeded my expectations. My customer service experience was world class - rivaling famed LL Bean, Amica Insurance and other. This is old honor. They better be careful though.....this kind of customer service is going to create raving customers and more business!~
Pros - Super solid. Holds temperatures well. Sears better than many pellet smokers. Flexible.
Cons - Default wheels are too weak. No easy way to remove pellets.
I looked at a lot of pellet grills. My only reluctance is that I didn't buy the bigger model. I use it all the time and love it. http://yanbbqb.blogspot.com/ shows my cooks.
Pros - Cooks evenly, Great construction with heavy gauge steel, Easy to use.
Cons - Casters are too small, needs a better way to remove pellets from hopper and from ignition chamber. Excessive wind can cause back burn
I have been using my Yoder YS 640 for about 3 weeks and have had great success in regards to cooking pork butts, ribs, brisket. I think the ease of being able to control the cooking temp, if smoking or grilling is fantastic.
The problems that I think can use a little attention by Yoder are the casters on the front of the cart. I went through the front 2 castors on the first day moving it onto my deck as all the ball bearings had fallen out. I was given a replacement pair to find that the same thing happened the 3 time I moved the cart (it was moved 7 feet across a timber deck) For such a well made BBQ I would think that they would have spent the extra $$$ on decent castors that would be able to take the weight.
The ability to change the pellets. I am sure that in the USA this isn't the case, but the models released in Australia have had a wire mesh installed in the hopper to prevent people putting their fingers in and getting them caught in the auger. I understand that it has been installed as a safety aspect, but it is far from practical. If you don't use the remaining pellets in the hopper then you need to burn them off before you can change pellet flavours which is crazy if you are smoking different meats and experimenting with flavours. Possibly the use of a door on the back of the hopper to remove pellets could be a solution.
Today I was using my smoker to cook a brisket and some baked potatoes. Once I had taken my brisket out, I then increased the temperature to 350F to finish off the potatoes. after about 20 minutes I had noticed excessive smoke coming from the smoker (unwanted smoke ). I think due to the high winds that it has caused the flame to ignite the pellets in the auger and then in the hopper. I was glad I caught the fire before it became a serious problem, but am going to be very wary about walking away from it in future.
Look overall I think it is a well made product, Just needs some fine tuning.
Pros - Great capacity, quality construction, easy to use, set it and forget it!
Cons - Wheels/casters are almost an afterthought.
Purchased a Yoder after decided a pellet smoker is the way to go, and not being impressed with the gauge of metal I saw in the Traegers. To be honest, mine smoker will be stored outdoors in a humid climate, and I wanted the extra stout construction the Yoder provides. I have cooked with it 5 times so far, and it is truly a set it an forget it proposition. I generally set it at 225, but if time is short and the meat isn't quite done you can kick it up to 300 or 350 quite quickly to speed things along. My digital thermometer is in general agreement with the electronic sensor in the smoker, and when cooking on an 85 degree day the temps inside the grill were relatively uniform in the 4 locations I checked. The top shelf seems to run about 15 degrees hotter than the lower grate. The grill grates are easy to use and quite substantial. The heat and grease deflector works well, and I can't see how it could be improved upon. I love all of the inner workings of my Yoder!
Now here are a few improvements I'd suggest Yoder implement: 1.
1. The rear wheels are OK, but their attachment to the legs looks somewhat tenuous. They seem splayed out just a bit, and I'm thinking a mod will be needed. I'd also suggest slightly larger rear wheels - possible pneumatic. If you could see my back yard, you'd understand why I;d liek to see this done. The front casters? Well they work fine on the concrete in my driveway and garage, but when I finally take the smoker in the back yard for storage I'm wondering how I'm going to do it. Seriously - 2.5-3" hard casters on a 350 pound steel smoker? Yoder REALLY needs to rethink this - this is my biggest complaint.
2. The front rack/shelf is substantial and works well, and the 3/8" chrome plated tubular steel is rigid beyond belief. The mounting system is also slick - the main frame bar is bent 90 degrees at the ends and slides right into 2 exterior pockets welded onto the frame legs. Same is true of the end shelf. The problem is the front shelf is about 2" too wide to facilitate easy storage inside the smoker. When the unit arrived, the front shelf was wrapped and stored inside with all the other parts. You had to angle and skew it to get it out. However once the smoker is assembled, you can't get the front shelf back into the unit without removing the grates and heat deflector. Now imagine everything is caked with grease - would you really want to bother with disassembling the parts inside your smoker just to stow the front shelf? If the shelf was 2" narrower, it would slide right in. A minor point, but in my situation it would be handy.
3. The grease bucket hanger needs to be modified. As is, the interior well drops down to a 1.5" diameter pipe which in turn vents below the smoker body. The smoker comes with a quart +/- grease bucket that hangs on an offset hook underneath. The offset placement means the drip pipe drains off to the side of the bucket, and if there is any wind splatters ensue. I'm not sure what the fix would be, but it could be improved upon.
I haven't studied the controller options thoroughly yet, but Yoder indicates they occasionally provide updates to the firmware that regulates the smoker. I believe the lowest temperature setting is 150 degrees, but plan on inquiring if a lower set point is possible. Similarly I have not yet used the direct grill greats to sear/grill a steak, but look forward to trying them out. Tis is an extremely well thought out and quality unit, and I am highly satisfied with my purchase. I figure I've got about 25 years left in my grilling and smoking career, and I'm confident my Yoder will still be around when they plant me.
Pros - Built like a tank, great support, made in the USA!
Huge amount of room in the cooker, made of heavy steel, MADE IN THE USA!
Pros - Easy of use. Easy of set up. Function.
Cons - None so far.
Well I have had a 640 now for two moths. Smokes 4 times. Came very professionally packages banded on a pallet delivered to the edge of my garage. I ordered factory direct. I ordered the grilling grates but have not used them yet. Broke it in as commanded. I have done 4 briskets so far I including a lean cut. Everything has turned out great. Still getting my sea legs on it but the info I have found on it has been very helpful. I made the best ribs I have every made on them a few weeks ago. I will post some pictures as soon as I can. Have been using pecan so far. Tomorrow will try mesquite for some chicken halves. I have not had the negative experience so far that the other user had with the hopper catching fire and I had the circuit breaker trip when I was away one time. I hope that user has things resolved. So far my first experience with. Pellet smoker has been very positive. I wish that pellets were a little more convenient to get though I just saw them in my local Costco.
Pros - Built like a tank. Made in USA
Cons - Pellet hopper has caught fire twice. Doesn't always start if you don't remove grates, drip pan, and clean ashes off glow-rod.
Pros - Built like a tank..heavy gauge steel, ability to grill or smoke. digitial theromostate. Made in USA, warrenty
Cons - Caster wheels too small, hard to move on uneven surface. Shelf/handle needs to be stiffer,,bends when you pick it up to move smoker.
I had been looking at the Yoder pellet grill for the last several years. Have always like the way they look and the quality of the construction...Like the heavy steel,,welds are smooth and lid fits nice and firm into body of grill. It is made here in Kansas with a great customer service dept. The operation of the tempature controls is easy and straight forward...The hopper will hold 20lbs of pellets and thus far I am using about 2lbs per hour(with ambiant temp of 50 degrees) and average cook temp of 250. I added the second shelf to mine and have liked this option. Also like the damper system, that can be used to grill, smoke or to make two different temp zones. Grease control system works well and defector shield is heavy and has not warped. Two things negative and they are minor..Stock wheels work fine on pavement...but not too good on unpaved surface...Also the wire shelf by the smoke stack...is what you lift on to move smoker...I think it needs to be stiffer. Cooks great and holds temps that are set.