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Old 09-01-2017, 03:08 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by Melt In The Sun View Post
Don't all offsets have issues if wind blows from the stack end to the firebox end? ...........
Nope.
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Old 09-01-2017, 03:37 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by Melt In The Sun View Post
Don't all offsets have issues if wind blows from the stack end to the firebox end? Intake insufficiency aside...that doesn't seem like a Yoder issue.
My Wichita flowed backwards very easily when the fire door was open; even the slightest breeze stopped the flow dead in its tracks.

Now I get out my trusty wind deflector if the wind isn't cooperating:

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Old 09-02-2017, 09:24 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by Melt In The Sun View Post
Don't all offsets have issues if wind blows from the stack end to the firebox end? Intake insufficiency aside...that doesn't seem like a Yoder issue.
My Johnson Smoker works in any wind conditions and with the firebox door closed. I get a lot of wind shear out here due to living right near the ocean, and I had to constantly rotate my Cheyenne to keep the firebox end in the wind. Over the last 5 months I have never once needed to rotate my Johnson Smoker... so no, it's not an issue with every offset smoker.
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Old 09-02-2017, 01:06 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by SmoothBoarBBQ View Post
My Johnson Smoker works in any wind conditions and with the firebox door closed. I get a lot of wind shear out here due to living right near the ocean, and I had to constantly rotate my Cheyenne to keep the firebox end in the wind. Over the last 5 months I have never once needed to rotate my Johnson Smoker... so no, it's not an issue with every offset smoker.
Agree, my Lang and Shirley never needed repositioning.
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:05 PM   #95
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The Yoder folks posted yet another video containing a segment on how to manage your fire in a Yoder offset (interview begins at 13:23):
http://community.yodersmokers.com/vi...p?p=8928#p8928

The video is mostly an advertisement about their manufacturing facility and sales volume ("we are successful, therefore right"), but it concludes with an interview between T-Roy Cooks and Joe Phillips, where Joe attempts (once again) to portray his smokers as thoughtfully designed, but then proceeds to explain their usage and behavior in a way that had me scratching my head, and apparently also had T-Roy questioning his own strategies. The whole top/down bottom/up discussion is debatable. Aaron Franklin suggests he gets a top/down cook because his smoke stacks are at grate level, and he doesn't incorporate any type of tuning plates to keep the heat on the bottom. That makes more sense to me.

It's interesting to hear Joe's opinions (which obviously weren't rehearsed), because he continued to push the idea that anyone having issues with their fire management just doesn't have enough knowledge or experience yet, despite the fact they are currently working on some kind of damper modification for the next production run of cookers.

Take aways:
1. Coal Base, Coal Base, Coal Base, Coal Base, like a broken record.
2. Don't use natural fire wood. Buy kiln-dried wood.
3. Joe's design chokes the fire intentionally, so there! It produces more smoke that way, get over it.

One thing that was interesting to me in the interview was the notion that the Wichita's heat management plate was somehow adjustable. T-Roy apparently keeps his an inch or so away from the ash deflector instead of underneath it, which is where Joe Phillips insisted it is supposed to be. I'd like to see Yoder implement an adjustable slider on the Wichita's heat management plate like they have on the Kingmans.

Here's a transcript of the interview portion of the video, for what it's worth:

T-Roy Cooks: Joe, I just wanted to ask this question if you don't mind. A lot of my viewers who have purchased Yoder offsets, they have asked me about that heat management plate. Mine is set up, and my preferred way to do it is to set it up is so that you've got 50 degree variance to 75 degree variance from end to end within the cooking chamber, but I've never tried to get my cooking chamber to be totally even across the board. How would you suggest that my fans do that because they ask me this all the time, and I just don't want to reconfigure mine. If they get a new offset from Yoder, how should they configure that heat management plate?

Joe Phillips: A couple of things. If you talk about completely even across the grate, that's really hard because you have an offset fire. So let's talk about getting it within an acceptable range, say 20 degrees. On the right hand side you are always going to be a little more radiant because that's where the fire is. The heat management plate then it's going to radiate a little heat, so what's going to happen in a Wichita for example with a heat management plate is on the right hand side you're going to have a little bit of a bottom cook, and as you move to the left it's going to be a top down cook. So you're going to cook just a little bit different from right to left.

As you talk about managing that temperature from left to right and top to bottom, you want to control your air intake and the outtake of your air. If you think right brain left brain, as you back the stack off, you're moving the air flow backwards. You're not allowing the heat to flow through the pit, so you're backing it up. If you think about the air intake on the firebox, the more open it is, the more efficient the fire, the more heat you're moving to the left hand side of the chamber. So you'll want to play a balancing act in between your intake damper and your stack. I typically, If I want to be pretty even in the pit, top to bottom and right to left, I'm going to run the damper about 1/2 shut, and the stack cap about 1/3 to 1/2 shut. That really slows that air down, and allows you to really efficiently burn that fire, so that way you're not seeing spikes in temperatures.

The other thing that's really important, cooking in an offset wood pit, the more food you put in it the more BTUs you're going to consume. The tighter that meat gets, the more you're going to force the heat to one end. So you want to allow it a little space. You're always going to cook, typically you're going to cook the hottest at the stack, so if you have a second shelf the upper left is going to tend to run 15 or 20 degrees hotter.

The beautiful thing about an offset wood pit is every piece of meat is a little different, so you've got one brisket that's going to finish in 10 hours, the next one's not going to finish until 11 1/2.

T-Roy Cooks: It happens to everybody, yeah.

Joe Phillips: Your wife puts cake in the oven, right? Sets it at 350 degrees and sets a timer. She's going to walk to that cake with a toothpick and check it; it's what's going to happen. Well cooking a piece of meat's kind of the same way. That oven's going to have variance in it. That's why you're checking. Well a wood pit's going to be the same way: you've got a fire that you're controlling so your ability to efficiently burn fire and provide it predictable fuel is really important.

We see a lot of guys who will go buy some wood to start with, and then they'll go to the neighbors and find an old tree that they're going to give to them, well that kiln-dried wood they bought, and that old tree laying on the ground aren't going to burn the same. They're going to be a little different. So the ability to manage that air flow through the pit - you can take any of our pits and make them do whatever you want.

A good base, you've gotta have a coal base, that's where the heat comes from. Maintain that coal base. If you lose it, then you begin to create separation from right to left, and always going to happen. Maintain your coal base, understand your pit and it's air flow, and then use the dampers. It's why we put them there. Play with that a little bit. You know, I don't ever run a damper more than about 1/3 shut on the stack, but at times I'll run my firebox damper almost all the way closed if I want to be 200 degrees.

T-Roy Cooks: See, I usually just run my stack all the way open and strictly adjust the heat within the pit by the intake on my firebox.

Joe Phillips: You can certainly do that.

T-Roy Cooks: I do get, I guess, less smoke flavor because there's more air flow, OK? So if I want more smoke flavor - slow that air down.

Joe Phillips: Slow that air flow down. Hold it in that chamber a little longer. Perfect example is a pellet grill. The reason a pellet grill smokes is because you're dropping raw fuel on a fire. It'll smoke for a little bit and it'll quit. So the ability to heat pellets predictably causes that smoke profile to happen. The exact same thing exists in a wood pit. The bigger the coal base, the hotter the coal base, the less smoke you're going to produce. The more air you're moving through it, the chemical process in the meat, in the cooking, in the salts, will cause the smoke flavor to happen. But if you want big, heavy smoke, slow the air down. Slow that cook down.

T-Roy Cooks: Let the smoke linger on the meat.

Joe Phillips: Let it linger there. if you want to cook a little hotter and faster, open it up, let things move through it. Um, It's kind of like driving a car and pulling up to a stop light, right? You ease into the throttle. Well running the wood pit's the exact same way: you want to ease into that throttle and set your cruise control where you want it. The cruise control is the entry point and the exit point.

T-Roy Cooks: Very interesting. And the heat management plate itself, should it be all the way against the inside wall of the fire box, or does it even matter how far it is?

Joe Phillips: Yeah, it does.

T-Roy Cooks: And also, it's got a lip on one end, should that lip be within the firebox?

Joe Phillips: The lip should curl under the ash seal. In every pit there's a rectangular piece of plate welded against the firebox wall, at about a 15 degree angle. That is there, as the air moves up it's going to want to rise. It's there to catch the ash, and stop the ash from getting on the top of your meat.

T-Roy Cooks: Oh, that's good - I didn't ever know that.

Joe Phillips: That's what it's there for. Heat should lip under it. That'll give you a predictable radiant spot of about 20 degrees hotter on the right, and then progressively going to get cooler to the left. So what I'm doing there is choking that air flow down. I'm causing it to starve itself just a little bit so it produces the smoke more.

I'll take my Kingman at times, and I'll slide my plate 3 or 4 inches away from there. I'll leave a little bit of gap. Let's say I've got chicken on the upper right hand side. I want that heat to come up and escape because I want a 350 degree zone on the upper right, while I want my brisket over here at 250.

So the versatility and the ability to play with that is really neat. The good thing about our pits, is it's capable of any of it.

T-Roy Cooks: I've got mine like 1 inch or so, maybe an inch and a half away from the wall, or away from that ash-catch thing you were talking about, and that's how I get my even 50 degree variance. But depending on what you're cooking and how you want to cook, you could move the heat management plate, adjust the intake and the outtake, you know the smokestack and the firebox, uh, learn your pit (points finger at you).

Joe Phillips: Learn your pit - very important (nods head).

T-Roy Cooks: Does it matter whether you're doing the Cheyenne, or the Kingman, or my Wichita, as far as what you just described? Is there very much variance? I would think not.

Joe Phillips: There's a little bit of variance just because as the tube gets bigger, the air's going to flow slightly slower. So in a Cheyenne you have a little tube, everything is sized for that body, it's proportioned intake to outtake. But naturally the air's going to move through it faster because there's less cubic volume to fill, so it's going to be quicker to react than say a Kingman. A Kingman's going to be a little slower to react than a Wichita.

Fundamentally they're all the same. The reaction time changes in between certain pits.

T-Roy Cooks: It's about the size of the volume of the air going ...

Joe Phillips: It's the cubic volume inside the body.

T-Roy Cooks: That really makes a lot of sense. I can't thank you enough for explaining that.


YouTube interview (13:23):
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:11 PM   #96
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Joe's a lot smarter than I am but I don't agree with him on this. I agree that throttling the air supply works well on a charcoal-only fire but choking a wood fire to reduce its power produces creosote. The only way to make clean smoke from a wood fire is avoid throttling back on combustion air and control your pit temps by rationing the fuel.
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:25 PM   #97
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Having to use kiln dried wood seems kind of weird. That stuffs not cheap is it?
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:39 PM   #98
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Perhaps Joe Phillips likes his food to taste like carbon? I understand what he's saying about "slowing" things down and that makes sense to me, but certainly not at the expense of ash and creosote. And again with that garbage about using kiln-dried wood... kind of a joke to be honest.

And Wow Slamkeys, you are really on this! haha At this point I'm just going to end up selling my Cheyenne locally to get a bit of cash. I can't deal with the frustration of using it when I have my Johnson Smoker which works so well and is so easy to operate in comparison.
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:14 PM   #99
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What are the details of this new damper people are talking about?
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:55 PM   #100
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Having to use kiln dried wood seems kind of weird. That stuffs not cheap is it?
Nope. It's actually quite expensive. I've seen it cost as much as $30 per cubic foot. Plus, it typically has about a 10% moisture content so you will go through a lot of it during a cook. (Seasoned wood is around 15%-20% moisture) The good news is it burns very cleanly and consistently.
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Old 09-12-2017, 05:52 PM   #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothBoarBBQ View Post
Perhaps Joe Phillips likes his food to taste like carbon? I understand what he's saying about "slowing" things down and that makes sense to me, but certainly not at the expense of ash and creosote. And again with that garbage about using kiln-dried wood... kind of a joke to be honest.

And Wow Slamkeys, you are really on this! haha At this point I'm just going to end up selling my Cheyenne locally to get a bit of cash. I can't deal with the frustration of using it when I have my Johnson Smoker which works so well and is so easy to operate in comparison.
No he doesn't. The trick is to have a small, hot, clean burning fire. This is achieved with fire management skills. It's really not that hard to do. You must reduce the intake but not so much that you choke it. Maintain a hot coal base and preheat your logs so they ignite immediately. Leave the exhaust wide open too. The result is a fire that delivers sweet blue smoke and no bitter taste.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:15 AM   #102
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No he doesn't. The trick is to have a small, hot, clean burning fire. This is achieved with fire management skills. It's really not that hard to do. You must reduce the intake but not so much that you choke it. Maintain a hot coal base and preheat your logs so they ignite immediately. Leave the exhaust wide open too. The result is a fire that delivers sweet blue smoke and no bitter taste.
On a Cheyenne you CAN'T reduce the intake or it will snuff out the fire almost immediately. That's the issue with their smaller smokers and that's what this entire thread is about.

I'm fully on board with a good coal base and having nice, seasoned wood, but there's just no way to keep a super clean fire going on a Cheyenne unless the firebox door is open.

I also want to say that on my offset Johnson Smoker I don't need to pre-heat my logs or use kiln-dried wood to achieve a beautiful thin, blue smoke. So if the Yoder's have issues where you have to do things differently than other smokers then it's likely an issue with their design. Funny enough even Yoder recognizes their design has an issue and they're working on fixing it by modifying the firebox door... I wonder why they would do that if all you had to do was follow the steps you've listed.
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Old 09-13-2017, 11:47 AM   #103
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You bring up some good points here. This is an inherent problem with a small smoker. It is why they developed the Cimmarron, but my personal favorite is the Frontiersman. Bigger is better, to a point. But your best point is that each smoker is different. I totally agree. Sounds like you much prefer your Johnson Smoker so I agree that you should sell the Yoder and just use it.
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:25 PM   #104
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I noted several times on the Yoder forum that I was able to use the intake damper on my Wichita only when I was using the charcoal basket. Charcoal doesn't need as much air to burn cleanly, so I was able to keep my ~225F temperature by closing the factory door and setting the damper about 1/3 open. With that setting, the coals in the basket would actually produce an open flame, and snake through the basket (minion style) for about 5 hours until the coals were depleted. Yoder must be aware of this or they wouldn't harp on the need to have a large "coal base." The problem I encountered, and heard from other owners, was that I had no way to maintain a large coal base throughout the cook without leaving the door open all the time. As soon as I attempted to close the door my coal bed would disappear, and Yoder suggested I just keep making new coals with a charcoal chimney throughout the cook in order to maintain a large coal base.

If we were to use only coals on these smaller Yoder offsets then we could definitely use the intake damper (door closed) to control the temperatures. I've seen videos of old BBQ joints where they maintained a huge silo fire all day long and then used shovels to bring coals to the pits, which means their pits never actually see raw firewood because it is already reduced to embers when they shovel it in.

Likewise, I've seen videos where teams use barrel silos like this one to create the coals, and then scoop them into the cooker with a shovel:





Regarding the Cheyenne, there aren't many videos out there, but there is one cook named Michael Doyle who has posted a handful of videos demonstrating his Yoder Cheyenne with the heat management plate installed. When I initially watched his series of videos, I noticed he had adopted the "Yoder Way" of managing his fire. He talks about pre-heating his splits on top of the firebox, turning his cooker into the wind, but most importantly he completely abandoned the idea of using the damper to control temperatures and always cooks with the door wide open. He mentions that his temperature gets a little hot this way, but he continues to rely on the size of his fire to control temperature instead of closing the door.

Preheat the wood, turn the cooker into the wind, leave door open:


The temperature gets a little hot, but leaving the door open solves the smoldering issue and helps maintain the coal bed. However, smoke still pours out of this end when new wood is added for the same reasons it happens on the Wichita (notice the scorching above the door opening).


By contrast, this photo of my modified Wichita door from this past weekend shows that it still doesn't have any scorching after 2 months of cooks because I am able to leave the door closed now, and I prefer to add wood from the top door because it's much easier on my back and knees. I originally used the side door to add wood, but it's a little too confined in there for me to work the fire easily.
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:50 PM   #105
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You bring up some good points here. This is an inherent problem with a small smoker. It is why they developed the Cimmarron, but my personal favorite is the Frontiersman. Bigger is better, to a point. But your best point is that each smoker is different. I totally agree. Sounds like you much prefer your Johnson Smoker so I agree that you should sell the Yoder and just use it.
This is kind of a poor attitude... "don't like it, use something else." The real issue is that there is a problem with the drafting system on the smaller Yoders and ever Yoder has acknowledged it. Also, there are tons of small smokers out there which function properly and don't have enormous drafting issues.

Anyways, I loved my Yoder once I figured out how to cook on it, but after I played around with some other stick-burners I was literally shocked at how difficult the Yoder is to operate in comparison. You mention the bigger cookers but this thread is mainly about the Wichita and I've also seen some Cheyenne owners having the same problem. No point in ignoring the actual problem and pretending it's all "user error," especially when the manufacturer acknowledges there's a problem.
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