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Gr8adventure
06-19-2012, 12:24 AM
I'd like to compete locally some day. I spend too much time Fly Fishing to get too serious about Q competition. However, I am interested in cooking competition quality food on a regular basis. Are there any competition quality pellet smokers under $2k. It seems everywhere people talk about the FEC 100 as being the best for competition, but that is well out of my price range. I want a cooker I could do small local comps with, but cook at home most of the time for about 4 people and occasionally 10. I'm not really interested in owning a bunch of cookers though I'll also have a UDS.

Should I just forget pellet cookers and get something like a Lang reverse flow. I like the idea of the ease of use of a pellet, but I do wonder if they would make enough smoke as I understand that they don't produce as much smoke as a wood or charcoal smoker. Then again I wouldn't likely ever have a problem with over smoking with pellets.

nucornhusker
06-19-2012, 12:41 AM
Check out the Yoder YS-640. I could probably do most of a comp on one. Without the nicer comp cart you are looking at about $1500 with a second cook rack.

http://www.atbbq.com/store/show/ys640_pellet.html

Also search the forum. There are a few cooks here that use this cooker.

Rich Parker
06-19-2012, 05:23 AM
Check out the Yoder YS-640. I could probably do most of a comp on one. Without the nicer comp cart you are looking at about $1500 with a second cook rack.

http://www.atbbq.com/store/show/ys640_pellet.html

Also search the forum. There are a few cooks here that use this cooker.

Do you know how much they are with that cart? Don't see it as an option.

HarleyGirl14226
06-19-2012, 05:52 AM
We're currently cooking on a MAK 2-Star. Super easy to run and the Pellet Boss controller is outstanding.

Smoke'n Ice
06-19-2012, 06:26 AM
Since you indicated you would also have a UDS, then the Cookshack FEPG500 fits your requirements. It is both a grill and a smoker basically at the same time. I, and a bunch of other cooks, use them for both competition and an at home cooker smoker.

It is limited in capacity but could do an entire KCBS contest by itself, depending on the number of briskets and butts you want to cook. I use it mainly for ribs and chicken at a contest and do everything on it at home.

There is a web site that offer a good side-by-side comparison for all of the pellets cookers and grills and gives good tips and advice. The link is http://pelletheads.com/ and I hope this is legal on this site. If not, I apologize and please delete.

Meat Man
06-19-2012, 08:51 AM
I'm using a MAK 2 star, but have used a Yoder 640 and a MAK 1 star. The one star is a great unit lts of smoke and a price well below you budget. A one star with a WSM or a UDS would easily cook all your comp meats and fit well with your personal needs.

Gr8adventure
06-19-2012, 09:12 AM
Thank you all very much for your replies.


I'm using a MAK 2 star, but have used a Yoder 640 and a MAK 1 star. The one star is a great unit lts of smoke and a price well below you budget. A one star with a WSM or a UDS would easily cook all your comp meats and fit well with your personal needs.

I sounds like you prefer the MAK units more than the Yoder 650. If that is the case may I ask what you prefer about the MAK's.

Svenmac
06-19-2012, 09:22 AM
I dont have either unit right now but have owned (Mak, Traegers, and Yoders in the past)

Good and Bad of Each

Mak

Good (Build Quality, Controller, Materials) Bad (Nothing except price)

Traeger

Good (Cheap, Reliable, parts easy to find) Bad (Materials and Build Quality)

Yoder

Good (Best built, materials) Bad (Controller at least mine was and price)



I put price in the good and bad columns but in actuallity you get what you pay for. I have a FEC-100 right now and I can tell you it blows the doors off all 3 of these smokers but it cant grill like these can either so you have to pick whats right for you.

nucornhusker
06-19-2012, 09:58 AM
Like this, you are looking at $1299 base price. +$100 for second cooking shelf and about $100 more if you want the exterior shelves to be solid stainless, not chrome rod.
http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb367/husker9903/yoder-smokers-ys640-01_large.jpg


This is with the competition cart. Better wheels, tie downs hooks, and it looks sweet. You can get the cart in several different colors but you may have to pay more depending on color. Around $2000-$2200 base price.
http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb367/husker9903/ys640-300x200.jpg


They even have an optional custom fitted blanket if you want it, although I'm not sure if you need it since it is made from 10 gauge steel.
http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb367/husker9903/yoder-smokers-ys640-07_large.jpg

Ron_L
06-19-2012, 11:02 AM
Take a look at the Memphis Pro from Hearthland Products as well. Rock solid temps and very even across the grate. All stainless which is great for the weather. It can be set for temps from 180 up to 600 degrees.

Ron_L
06-19-2012, 11:03 AM
Oh yeah... It also has a double wall cook box so it performs well in all kinds of weather.

porkingINpublic
06-19-2012, 12:56 PM
We use a Trager Lil Tex for our overnight Butts/shoulders. It'll hold 3 butts easy. we get great scores with it.

Gr8adventure
06-19-2012, 04:49 PM
Thanks everyone. I probably should have stated from the beginning that I'm already certian that I'm not interested in Tragers unless I found one for an insanely low deal as I've seen them in person at COSTCO and I just wasn't impressed with the materials and build quality.

I've got to admit, that of all those suggested so far the one I find most esthically pleasing is the Yoder, I just like that more "traditional" smoker look.

However, I've heard so many good things about the MAC and Memphis units here and elsewhere that I might just have to get over my dislike for the stainless steel look. Again I like that good Ol' black industrial look.

ique
06-19-2012, 05:16 PM
Yoder
Good (Best built, materials) Bad (Controller at least mine was and price)




I have been cooking on a 640 and just added a 480. 640 is not quite enough to cook a contest unless you really cut back on meat quantity.

I haven't had problem with controllers. I haven't really monitored temps though. Pork butts and brisket, fat down, 250* at 10pm and I have had beautiful looking product every time at 6am ready for wrap. And sleep.

Smoke'n Ice
06-19-2012, 05:20 PM
Some what above your price range is the Cookshack FEPG1000. It has a lower pellet consumption of all of the mentioned cookers, is fully insulated for use in the northern climes, will sear steaks at over 600 degrees or cold smoke salmon at under 60 degrees or cook pizza like a brick oven. It is usable both summer and winter in your area for home and competion. It will replace your gasser, green egg, smoker, brinkman or whatever else you have. I use it younger brother, the 500, to replace my Traeger, my gasser, my webber and, for the most part, my FE100 at home. I live in a somewhat warmer climate and really don't need the insulation.

Gr8adventure
06-19-2012, 06:56 PM
Ooops! Sometimes I'm a little slow and have been wondering about all the cold weather comments. I'm in Elk Grove, CA. in Sacramento County. We don't really get cold weather here like other parts of the country or even further up in Northern CA.

CBQ
06-19-2012, 07:10 PM
Ooops! Sometimes I'm a little slow and have been wondering about all the cold weather comments. I'm in Elk Grove, CA. in Sacramento County. We don't really get cold weather here. Like other parts of the Country or even further up in Northern CA.

Then consider the FECPG500 - $1500. Smoke, grill, cold smoke. It's the uninsultated version of the 1000, and will save you a grand if you don't need insulation. FEC build quality and customer service are great.

Rub
06-19-2012, 08:05 PM
Love my 2 Yoder Smokers:

http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/208857_3338795068577_1393786966_n.jpg

Quality is second to none and I've not had a controller problem that wasn't user error. I highly recommend them.

EMTTLC
06-19-2012, 09:42 PM
I cook with two pellet cookers at competitions. The FEC 100 and a Green Mountain Grill Jim Bowie. The GMG is comparable to the Traeger, but better quality. It's under $1000.00 and cooks great.

TheJackal
06-20-2012, 08:57 AM
Do you know how much they are with that cart? Don't see it as an option.

YS640 w/ 2nd shelf and comp cart - $1,995. When you get the comp cart, the shelves get upgraded to Stainless
Paint - varies. red is $125. silver and orange are no charge.
Direct grate kit - $89.95 + $20 for the fancy spatula
Cover - $122.50
Door thermometers - $80
Expanded metal main grate -- no charge but you need to ask for it

Learning to cook on the Yoder right now. RE: controller issues... On my unit, the center of the main grate seems to run 20-30 degrees hotter than the controller reports (as measured with my maverick). Not a problem at all and certainly something you can easily work with as long as it is consistent. However, the back right corner is hot as sh1t and can run 100-150 degrees hotter than the controller reports. :confused: See what happens to you ribs back there. :tsk:

Svenmac
06-20-2012, 09:28 AM
I have been cooking on a 640 and just added a 480. 640 is not quite enough to cook a contest unless you really cut back on meat quantity.

I haven't had problem with controllers. I haven't really monitored temps though. Pork butts and brisket, fat down, 250* at 10pm and I have had beautiful looking product every time at 6am ready for wrap. And sleep.



I got one of the first that came off the line and there were many problems. The guy I sold it to has been treated VERY WELL by the guys at Yoder and the pit works great now. I think their problems are behind them on the controllers but I was speaking from my experience

Big Poppa
06-20-2012, 12:50 PM
First off I am a dealer for both MAK Memphis...I compete with two MAK One Stars...we doo pretty well for californians......;heheheh

Also it is important to know that the competition teams touting MAKs paid for them....

ique
06-20-2012, 02:03 PM
First off I am a dealer for both MAK Memphis...I compete with two MAK One Stars...we doo pretty well for californians......;heheheh

Also it is important to know that the competition teams touting MAKs paid for them....

I paid for my Yoder

Gr8adventure
06-20-2012, 02:03 PM
First off I am a dealer for both MAK Memphis...I compete with two MAK One Stars...we doo pretty well for californians......;heheheh

Also it is important to know that the competition teams touting MAKs paid for them....

That is a good point about the teams paying for their units and them just touting MAK, because they were given to them by a sponsor. In just about every form of competition its sometimes hard to take the word of pros, because they are basically being paid to support a product line.

I know California we are not exactly known as the Mecca of BBQ, but as a native Californian and someone who has eaten lots of Q I believe we have more good Q here then people might think. Slap Yo Daddy is from here in California and aren't they one of the top nationally ranked teams.:hungry:

HarleyGirl14226
06-20-2012, 02:21 PM
Also it is important to know that the competition teams touting MAKs paid for them....

Unless you know for sure someone is sponsored by a certain cooker, rub or sauce - or any other BBQ product out there -- I think it's a pretty good bet that most teams competing have paid for their own stuff. Sponsorships are pretty hard to come by.

That being said - we did fairly well on our MAK 2 Star (plus 2 WSM's) as a Rookie team last year -and have managed to get at least 4-5 hours of good sleep each contest doing it. We were actually considering adding a Yoder YS640 to our equipment this year (and still might if funds allow) to add to our cooking space. As stated previously, we're really happy with the controller on the MAK, but recognize that the YS640 is a much heavier gauge steel which we had hoped would just add to the consistency of our cook by maintaining temps more easily.

And for those who were concerned about cooking in the cold weather - we live in a suburb of Buffalo, NY - and routinely cooked in the off season overnight in subzero temps on our MAK - it ate a few more pellets than normal to maintain temp - but otherwise it was a champ.

Smoke'n Ice
06-20-2012, 03:31 PM
My only comment to make is go to pellet heads dot com for a very thorough evaluation of a majority of the pellet cookers and grills out there. Most manufacturers give them one to test and they report the results, both good and bad. Don't take a dealers or manufacturers word for how good their unit is, but read the comprehensive reports on all of the pellet units and make an informed, unbiased decision.

Evaulate where they are manufactured, US, China, India, Canada, or where ever, and support the economy that you are comfortable with. Some have moved manufacturing offshore and just have US dealers and others still believe in the heartland.

Then go beat up which ever manufacturer you decide on and get as much as you can for the buck.

Candy Sue
06-20-2012, 03:35 PM
I have the ULTIMATE pellet cooker, the only pellet-fired Jambo. I paid for it myself, though I do have a deal with a pellet company for broken bags...

I wouldn't worry about the smoke flavor thing. You can always start off in the UDS and swap over to the pellet cooker after first couple or three hours. That will give you the best of both worlds and some sleep.

Gr8adventure
06-20-2012, 04:21 PM
I wouldn't worry about the smoke flavor thing. You can always start off in the UDS and swap over to the pellet cooker after first couple or three hours. That will give you the best of both worlds and some sleep.

Hmm! That just makes to much sense! I've had more than one person say that they feel that pellet smokers do not produce enough smoke for competition Q, because the judges more often than not expect more smoke flavor. This could fix that with only a little more effort.

I though I read elsewhere also that MAC and Memphis grills produce more smoke than others. Does anyone know if that is true and if so is as much as chacoal or stick burners.

Smoke'n Ice
06-20-2012, 05:23 PM
the use of liquid smoke will also produce the same reflux reaction. There are a number of pellet cookers that do quite well with the little log cookers. If you need a list, look at the toy standings. With that said, most pellet smokers and grills have a smoke setting and it can be very effective.

TheJackal
06-20-2012, 05:24 PM
Hmm! That just makes to much sense! I've had more than one person say that they feel that pellet smokers do not produce enough smoke for competition Q, because the judges more often than not expect more smoke flavor. This could fix that with only a little more effort.

I though I read elsewhere also that MAC and Memphis grills produce more smoke than others. Does anyone know if that is true and if so is as much as chacoal or stick burners.

Only a few cooks in on my Yoder but I feel it produces plenty of smoke. If you think you need more you can always add one of these:

SmokingPit.com - A-maze-N-Tube-Smoker Review - used with a Yoder YS640 for flat iron steaks. - YouTube

Rub
06-20-2012, 10:51 PM
First off I am a dealer for both MAK Memphis...I compete with two MAK One Stars...we doo pretty well for californians......;heheheh

Also it is important to know that the competition teams touting MAKs paid for them....
I am sponsored by Yoder with product. I approached them because I liked the build quality I saw, dedication to details, and the fact it's made in the good ole USA. First time I fired them up and seasoned them was at a contest, I took 3rd out of 69 overall. Since then my overalls have been 3rd, 4th, GC, 6th, 3rd, RGC, and RGC this past weekend. So yes I'm sponsored by them but I'm also seeing great results, confirming what I thought in the beginning.

Big Poppa
06-21-2012, 08:11 AM
I paid for my Yoder


sucker.....just kidding chris.

Just pointing out not just Yoder but there are aggressive deals out there for internet reviews from some of the newer pellet cookers ...not just comp teams....

I sell and MAK and Memphis. I compete on MAKS. I feel that I should state that before giving an opinion. Being sponsored does not make the product worse...just disclosure.

Choices are great....life is better with more choices.

ique
06-21-2012, 09:33 AM
sucker.....just kidding chris.

Just pointing out not just Yoder but there are aggressive deals out there for internet reviews from some of the newer pellet cookers ...not just comp teams....

I sell and MAK and Memphis. I compete on MAKS. I feel that I should state that before giving an opinion. Being sponsored does not make the product worse...just disclosure.

Choices are great....life is better with more choices.

Haha. I've received quite the deal from Yoder so I guess you could say I'm sponsored. But like Rub, there is no way I am going to go out on the Comp trail with a cooker just because someone gave it to me for free. I think the fact that I am leaving my Jambo at home says a lot.

Scottie
06-21-2012, 09:56 AM
This whole nonsense that judges expect more smoke. BS. Ive cooked exclusively the last 6+ years using a couple of FE's and BBQr's Delight pellets. The judges seemed to like my food. Ill also say that there us probably less smoke flavor using my Jambo. They are very efficient and also do not put a big smoke flavor on food. You can also supplement smoke in a pellet cooker. I've done that as well.

Gr8adventure
06-21-2012, 10:52 AM
Haha. I've received quite the deal from Yoder so I guess you could say I'm sponsored. But like Rub, there is no way I am going to go out on the Comp trail with a cooker just because someone gave it to me for free. I think the fact that I am leaving my Jambo at home says a lot.

From the little I know about pits in general and Jambo pits that does say a lot to me, because I've only heard great things about Jambo pits.

Did/do you have any of the issues with your pit that have been talked about by numerous Yoder ys640 owners? Issues that make it sound like there are some significant issues with the control panel resulting in inconsistent temp control, spikes and drops in temps, etc.

Did Yoder take extra normal care to make sure your pit went out the door without those issues, because they want your endorsement as a respected competitor?

Big Poppa
06-21-2012, 12:05 PM
well We use jambos too....I have three of them....arrrgh (2 jrs and just got one for the trailer...) I find they put out more smoke but I couldnt argue with Scottie.....Its taken him years to call us cookers...heheheheh

We cook our chicken and pork on the MAK (finished 22 and 25 in kcbs with 16 cooks last year...holding our own this year) COok ribs and brisket on the jambo...

Scottie
06-21-2012, 12:37 PM
Depends on where you ut your meat on the Jambo. At least mine has areas that get a ton of smoke and areas that barely get any smoke. I prefer the less smoke, but I liked that from cooking on my pellet Cookers oer thevyears

Svenmac
06-21-2012, 01:19 PM
There is such a thing as too much smoke.

A first year team set up next to me this year and offered some of their pork for review. It was like licking a lump of charcoal but they were awful proud of the smoke ring!

AZScott
06-21-2012, 02:39 PM
FEC's are great cookers and at this point I couldn't imagine using anything else in a competition. You may be able to find a used one at a good price but they are fairly rare to find. I know many love Green Mountains, MAK's, Yoder's, etc but my one concern would be capacity for me and my intentions.

If I had your budget and desires I would get a Green Mountain or a MAK. Use the rest of the money on meat. During that time you will either justify buying another one, decide you don't like pellet smokers, or you'll get the FEC if or when you decide to compete.

JD McGee
06-21-2012, 09:53 PM
Just purchased my MAK 1 Star General from Big Poppa Smokers...the "Pellet Boss" controller is amazing! :becky: Also the customer service is the best in the biz...and...free shipping! :cool:

https://www.bigpoppasmokers.com/store/bbq-smokers-grills/2012-mak-2-star-general-1108

Gr8adventure
06-22-2012, 08:57 AM
Just purchased my MAK 1 Star General from Big Poppa Smokers...the "Pellet Boss" controller is amazing! :becky: Also the customer service is the best in the biz...and...free shipping! :cool:

https://www.bigpoppasmokers.com/store/bbq-smokers-grills/2012-mak-2-star-general-1108

Thanks for sharing JD. Truthfully I'm kind of leaning toward the Yoder ys640. I'm beginning to believe its at least as good as MAK and Memephis and it just fits my style better. However I wish I'd sen big poppas UDS kit, before starting to put together the parts for the one on planning to build. I'm kind of having difficulty finding #9 expanded metal for my charcoal grate though so depending on the size I might buy their charcoal grate.

Big Poppa
06-22-2012, 09:02 AM
One thing to consider is that MAK designs and makes their controller...it is designed solely for the mak...your control and programming is very cool as is the available remote boss wireless controller

ique
06-22-2012, 12:48 PM
From the little I know about pits in general and Jambo pits that does say a lot to me, because I've only heard great things about Jambo pits.

Did/do you have any of the issues with your pit that have been talked about by numerous Yoder ys640 owners? Issues that make it sound like there are some significant issues with the control panel resulting in inconsistent temp control, spikes and drops in temps, etc.

Did Yoder take extra normal care to make sure your pit went out the door without those issues, because they want your endorsement as a respected competitor?

I have not had any issues and I dont believe Yoder did anything special in terms of preping the cooker for me. Again I havent worried about monitoring temp and comparing grate temp to controller temp. I have simply put my meats on (fat down for big meats), set to 250 and let it rip.

The cooker seems to have attributes of both an offset and a pellet cooker which I like a lot.

Three contests so far, 1/20, 6/54, 2/3 :)

JD McGee
06-22-2012, 01:24 PM
I have not had any issues and I dont believe Yoder did anything special in terms of preping the cooker for me. Again I havent worried about monitoring temp and comparing grate temp to controller temp. I have simply put my meats on (fat down for big meats), set to 250 and let it rip.

The cooker seems to have attributes of both an offset and a pellet cooker which I like a lot.

Three contests so far, 1/20, 6/54, 2/3 :)

2/3...:confused: :becky:

Smokin Mike
06-22-2012, 04:34 PM
Thanks for sharing JD. Truthfully I'm kind of leaning toward the Yoder ys640. I'm beginning to believe its at least as good as MAK and Memephis and it just fits my style better. However I wish I'd sen big poppas UDS kit, before starting to put together the parts for the one on planning to build. I'm kind of having difficulty finding #9 expanded metal for my charcoal grate though so depending on the size I might buy their charcoal grate.

[Hijack on] Thanks for posting the UDS kit info, I been to the site, and never seen it. [Hijack off]

I been looking at the yoder's for a while,,, might be a FEC for sale soon.

JD McGee
06-22-2012, 06:36 PM
It was a tough call for me as well...it came down to the Yoder or the MAK...both were comparable in price and quality. I chose the MAK 1 Star General mainly for it's controller...then it's size and weight. It will roll right into my little 6x10 trailer...no worries. I can do two butts and two trimmmed out packers on it overnight then chicken the next morning...:becky:

I am sure you will be happy with whatever you end up with...:-P

Gr8adventure
06-22-2012, 07:33 PM
I have not had any issues and I dont believe Yoder did anything special in terms of preping the cooker for me. Again I havent worried about monitoring temp and comparing grate temp to controller temp. I have simply put my meats on (fat down for big meats), set to 250 and let it rip.

The cooker seems to have attributes of both an offset and a pellet cooker which I like a lot.

Three contests so far, 1/20, 6/54, 2/3 :)

That is some impressive results. Hmmm.

ique
06-22-2012, 08:23 PM
2/3...:confused: :becky:

I know that one kind of sucked..... judging wise.

:-P

Smokin Mike
06-22-2012, 09:05 PM
2/3 :)

Just figured out what that meant,,,, took me almost a whole day :icon_blush:

that still a congrats! :clap:

nucornhusker
06-22-2012, 09:37 PM
I'm impressed that Chris is parking his Jambo in favor of the YS640. That says a lot I think.

What will be interesting to see is if he still does that when the honeymoon is over. :pop2:

HarleyGirl14226
06-25-2012, 09:31 AM
While we have been MAK only - this weekend we just pulled the trigger on a YS640...

Looking forward to taking possession. It will be interesting to do a comparison of our own.

Shiz-Nit
06-25-2012, 10:24 AM
I think we would buy one of someone sold the pellets around here. I would hate to order them all the time.

ique
06-25-2012, 10:41 AM
I'm impressed that Chris is parking his Jambo in favor of the YS640. That says a lot I think.

What will be interesting to see is if he still does that when the honeymoon is over. :pop2:

Took another Grand yesterday using 640 and 480. :)

Love the Jambo but am enjoying a bit of sleep at contests.

Smokin' D
06-25-2012, 10:48 AM
Congratulations again on that win yesterday Chris. But was it having the extra sleep you enjoyed or being able to party later into the night without compromising your quality?:mrgreen: