Need help from the pellet heads, Yoder Ys640
I've been looking at pellet cookers for a couple of years and I am finally ready to make my purchase. I'm about 99% set on the yoder ys640, I've read every review I can find but need some trusted advise.
It seems some of the earlier units had some temp swing issues and hot spots, there are people out there that love them and people that hate them. The ones that don't like it don't seem to have a real good reason, and ones that like them post plenty praise.
So I ask the brethren if you have cooked on one, own one, have a friend that owns one, please let me know your thoughts.
What I'm thinking is;
-upper cooking grate
-direct grill package
- insulation jacket
Do you have access to a pellet supplier very close to you? I know that has been my biggest downfall of the pellet grills in general, the shipping of pellets can be spendy if you dont want to order a ton at a time. I dont have a Yoder but I have been looking at there stick burners and cant say enough for the guys at All Things BBQ, they have been very helpful in answering my questions and getting info right from Yoder.
I have not cooked on one, but I have looked very closely at them a few times. They are heavy metal, put together well, and look great (especially if you spring for the competition cart). I have read a lot of posts regarding the temp swing issues, and the hot spot issues, and have concluded this: everyone cooks differently, and has different likes and dislikes, some hate a certain feature while others love that same feature. My Traeger will range +- 25 degrees from the set temp---it does not bother me at all. Someone else may hate that it does not stay +- 5 degrees. I guess neither one of us would be wrong, it is just what we want our machine to do. YMMV.
Thanks for the input, the only reason I haven't jumped on one yet is due to some of the bad reviews. People that have a problem with them really seem to have a problem with them or just bad mouth the features because they bought a cooker without said features. I just want to hear from someone that has the latest generation and get their thoughts.
As far as pellets I don't have a local source, but plan buying a ton or more at a time. I have access to a loading dock with fork truck, so technically I could buy a semi load at a time.
There are a few guys here who have the Yoder. Rub with Swamp Boys BBQ in Florida runs them at comps and has been killing it this year. He doesn't come on very often so you may want to send him a PM.
Temp swings don't bother me much. When you're cooking for 4-12 hours short term swings average out. Hot spots can be an issue depending on how big they are.
My Yoder YS640 has a date stamp of 2-6-13, so I'd say it qualifies as a "latest gen" unit. I have put it through the paces cooking at least 35 different items on it so far, and everything comes out fantastic. Temps swings aren't too bad, no it doesn't lock on one temp and not budge at all, no smoker does. It stays pretty true to your set temp give or take 10-15 degrees in my experience. And as far as hot spots, those are pretty much solved. It does run hotter on the right side of the cook chamber, but by about 20-30 degrees most of the time, so nothing you can't live with. In some cooks it's nice to have the hotter spot if you need it. And the heat deflector goes right up to the front and back of he unit, so you don't have this large gap where you food just gets blasted with heat. It is hotter there, but I'd say better than most pellet units.
For sure get the second rack, you will regret it if you don't. I have the cover and insulation jacket. The cover is top notch quality and so is the insulation jacket. It does cook a little differently with the jacket on, so I still need to learn that difference.
As far as pellets, I order LumberJack in bulk. They are a great quality pellet and a very reasonable price. I also like BBQr's Delight, but their shipping rates are higher for me and too cost prohibitive. Since the LumberJack's come from Great Lakes Renewable Energy in Wisconsin, the shipping should be very fair for you. Here is a link to their site if you want a quote.
As far as the bad reviews, not every cooker is for everyone, but I think it is pretty clear that almost all of Yoder's customers are very happy with their cooker. They did have some issues at first and admittedly some will try to scare you off depending on where you read, but I would purchase a YS640 again in a heartbeat, or a YS1320, I love that cooker. Everyone at Yoder and All Things Barbecue are great to work with and will help you decide which cooker and features are best for you. Give them a call and they won't steer you wrong. And if you do have any issues, their service after the sale is unmatched. They not only want to get your unit up and running, but they want to know what went wrong so they can correct it on future runs if needed.
And, it's made right in America's Heartland, not overseas. The welds on this unit are works of art. It shows the care and precision they put into the unit.
Here is a Wagyu brisket I cooked on mine:
And 30lbs of some irregular cut pork belly smoked at 160* using LumberJack MHC pellets after 5 hours in the smoke. The smell was insane.
Some ribs (first cook on it)
And I highly recommend adding at least one probe port for a maverick or other thermometer so you don't have to run it under the door and mess with the airflow of the cooker and pinch the probe wire. I opted for two just to be safe.
Here is my unit.
If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.
I get to cook on them once a month at ATBBQ for Andy's cooking classes and love 'em. So much so that I bought one. I was a dedicated stick burner that has been wooed to the dark side (pellets). Love the convenience of them and the taste is great. But what I love the best is the versatility. You can both smoke or grill with these bad boys. That's what won me over, along with how well they are made.
Awesome you guys, this is exactly what I wanted to hear. Thanks for the tip on lumberjack pellets, I'll have to get a quote. I'm going to order the cooker today!!!
I have two questions
-Is there any advantage to ordering through all things bbq vs Yoder directly?
-How many thermo probes can you fit through one probe port?
Thanks for all the input.
I like my YS640 some much that I just ordered the YS1320. We have done a full comp on the 640. All I can say get to know your pit once you get it.
As for the probe ports, if you look closely at the picture you will see a rubber grommet that is inside of the ports. As you unscrew the port the opening expands, and as you tighten the port it closes up. That way you get a good seal and the hot air isn't just blowing out all of the time. With the grommet in I have squeezed 3 probes in one port, but that is very tight and very tough to get the ports back out. If you remove the grommet, you can get at least 6-8 I would think.
Congrats with your future purchase! You will love your grill.
I'd like to hear your feedback on the GrillGrates. That is one thing I haven't got yet since I have so many other grills, but they are tempting me. I do like the griddle though.
UPDATE. I ordered the cooker yesterday and it should ship Monday. The order is as follows:
YS640 with backyard cart (comp cart may be added at a latter time)
Upper slide out grill rack
Grillgrates direct grill package
Custom fitted cover
I can't wait to get this thing cooking. I'll post some pics and a little review when I get it all set up. Thanks for all the input.
Awesome! You will love it. Make sure you post some pics of your cooks.
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