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Knows what WELOCME spells.
Jan 19, 2024
Middletown DE
Name or Nickame
Hey all,

Okay, it's getting serious. The wife is in agreement and the funds have been just deciding on what to get

My wife and I have been looking at getting a smoker for the past few years. We love the smoke flavor that we can get using our Lynx natural gas grill when using chunks, but honestly, having to come out every 30 minutes to look at and possibly adjust the gas, making sure the temps are right, making sure that the smoke is flowing, etc., and we have decided that a dedicated smoker is the way to go.

what we plan on using it for:
Smoking meats/BBQ. Pork Butts, Brisket, Robs (beef and pork) 7 bone standing rib roasts, fish (salmon, maybe trout) MAYBE a spatchcocked turkey or some beer-can chicken. Since Yoder has a pizza oven, we MIGHT use that, but I would not fully say yes or no at the moment.
What we are not planning on using it for: Grilling or searing.

Seasons we plan on using it:
Year round. We would love to be able to use it even in the dead of winter.

Our time:
We both work full time jobs, but I am the one that cooks. My wife is a dedicated water burner and while she can reheat with the best of them, she doesn't have the 35+ years of cooking for the family I have. While I work mostly from home, I am on conference calls 5 or more hours a day, sometimes I am on 2 or more calls at the same time. So, while I would love to have a stick burner, I just can't commit to being able to go down and throw another log on the fire every 45 minutes or so. If we did, we would be leaning toward a custom Meadow Creek TS70P setup with a fireboard as they are "local" to me being just a few hours away and I was impressed with the build quality. This leads me to "pellet smokers"

Now, I live in Delaware (not to far from another brethren member in Middletown over in Bayberry), home of salt marshes, fog, and rain, and we are only a few miles from the Delaware Bay. Everything here a 1970s car in the midwest type of rust. If it's not rusting, it's mildewing.

That means I want thick steel. full on stainless, or aluminum. I would love to have a 1/4 inch, but 1/8 inch is a minimum.

My wife and I looked at the Traeger, and neither of us were impressed with it. The build quality just wasn't there and all the metal is really thin. We also would prefer something US made. I've looked at the charcoal gravity smokers, but I am just not sure on them. Also, the ones I did find were mostly China made.

YS640S - high heat for searing if we wanted, good amount of room, but it's probably on the very edge of having enough room. It's also right on the edge of the steel thickness I am looking for
This leads me to the YS1500S and YS1500S Outlander. What impresses me most about the outlander is the pellet dump (no using a shop vac to get the pellets out, the easier access to the needed maintenance points, and the additional 20 lbs of pellet capacity (40 total). I know it can only get to 500 degrees vs 600 on the 640, but I am thinking that my infrared burner on my grill makes a great sear station for reverse cooked steaks, and I can sear the outside of the rib-roast in my oven.

That said, some have mentioned that there might be a few others to look at. Any suggestions?

Thank you in advance and much appreciated.
It took me a lot of reading to get...that you're basically looking for a pellet grill, better metal quality than a Traeger...?

There was a lot there to plow through to get at what you're actually looking for.....did I digest it right?

It took me a lot of reading to get...that you're basically looking for a pellet grill, better metal quality than a Traeger...?

There was a lot there to plow through to get at what you're actually looking for.....did I digest it right?

USA made pellet smoker that is "better" than a Yoder and has good thick steel so I don't get rust through in 5 minutes out here in Delaware
I've had my Yoder for about 10 years and the only real rust issue is that the hinges of the hopper rusted and broke off. But since the hopper lid is so small and light, I haven't worried about it. It's not letting any water into the hopper so the pellets stay dry. I do have a small amount of rust on the front of the smoker but that's more due to not cleaning it well after cooks than due to any water from rain. I do not have it covered, it's out in the open with no protections from the weather.

In that 10 years of owning my 640, I've only had to do two repairs to it. One was to replace the chamber temp monitor device and the other was to replace the igniter with the ceramic version. The temp monitor was a quick and easy replacement, but the ceramic ignition replacement took me over 1.5 hours. While the instructions said that the wire connection could be pulled out from where the igniter is, I found that my wires weren't long enough to be pulled out. So I needed to remove the side panel of the hopper to get to the wire connector. Once I did that, it went well. Getting the screws out that help the igniter was a pain due to there not being a lot of room, but I eventually got it. Putting them back in with the new igniter was also a PITA.

Would I buy one again? Yes. It does what I need as far as smoking and grilling and when I bought, the price was in the range I was looking to spend.

I don't think you will be disappointed with a Yoder. But I also don't think you would be disappointed with a MAK based on what those fanatics say. LOL!!
My Yoder ys640s rusted very heavily, in a very short time, even though I followed all the recommended precautions. Since I was also never pleased with the smoke level, I gave it to my son (under 2.5 years after purchasing new), who restored and sold it.

I'd really recommend searching the owners Facebook group for rust and then also reading the replies. Rust is a known issue with some Yoders and it's an extremely sensitive topic.

MAK, Lone Star Grillz, and Pitts and Spitts would all be on my consideration shortlist if I ever want to add a pellet smoker again.
While checking out the Lone Star Grillz pellet smoker also check out their Mini and Pee Wee Insulated Vertical Cabinets (IVC). The Mini was the direction I was heading until decided to become a stick burner and got the Shirley 24x36.
Well, I am new here but I love my Mak 2 star. Built really well, quality 304 stainless.
It seems to be hit or miss but there has been a fair number of complaints about Yoder’s paint failing and rusting problems. There are more options than there used to be but if you’re looking for something as large as the YS1500 it’s still a relatively small number. MAKs are fantastic but you’d have to go up to their 3-star which is even a little more expensive than the Yoder. Pitts and spits would be an option. At a lower price point (though not made in the US), Recteq makes a very good capacity grill.

At the price point you’re willing to consider, personally I’d probably go the MAK route. I will say that while style is a matter of personal taste, I do think that’s the one place that MAK trails some others.

Having said that, I think you’ll be happy with whatever you choose. Pellet grills are incredibly easy to use and put out a very clean, mild smoke flavor and I would think that you’ll appreciate it coming from the Lynx. Based on the background you shared, you could also go with something that’s using charcoal. They take more time to get started and slightly more monitoring in use (unless you add a controller) but they tend to give a higher level of smoke flavor — which some prefer.
First off, I contacted yoder probably 20 years ago saying if they would make their grill with a higher lid, I would buy one and he flatly refused. I still argue that would still be the cadillac of grill/smokers if they would do that. The Jambo model of up and over smokers has been copied many times over and is the perfection model. Boathouse smokers, 1975, Long STAR, workhorse seem to be the go to smoker makers.
I don't own one or have direct knowledge, but another American made, all-stainless pellet grill to look at is Memphis Wood Fired Grills. They seem well built, but may not have the capacity of that YS1500.

I’ve ran the YS-640 for 7 years now. No major complaints. It’s thick enough on steel, the finish is a challenge, but it has a baffle that is adjustable to even the heat on the cooking surface, the fire pot is on the far left side not in the center, this makes it very good at low and slow bbq, the auger drops pellets into the fire pot from above not augered into the fire pot so no burn back into hopper. Really the Yoder pellet cooker is more in line with Cookshack smokers. Yoder is more of a “bbq pit” set up than any other I’ve looked at. I’d buy again.
I have a MAK one star but really want a Yoder YS680 for the additional room. However, the Yoder's fire box is on the far left of the grill and the Max's is dead center. I do wonder if there is a big temperature differential going side to side on the Yoder. Both the MAK and Yoder can have a second shelf so there is a ton of room. I have cooked 6 racks of St. Louis ribs on my MAK with no problem. Either grill is a win.
Thanks all, I went with the 1500 (not the outlander). 2k for the 20 extra lbs of pellet capacity wasn't a good deal IMO. Delivery in a few weeks. Got a family farm that sells "by the piece" meat up to whole sides or even whole pigs (not doing that, just saying they sell it), so I think I will be set.