Yoder Smokers YS640: The World’s Most Versatile Grill

We know it’s not easy to admit that you’ve made a mistake… but it’s never too late to fix it. Especially if the mistake was going with a “bargain” grill.

Yoder Smokers YS640 Pellet Grill is Always A Good Decision

The Yoder Smokers YS640 Pellet Grill might not seem like a bargain at first glance but its solid construction, ease of use, versatility, and sheer longevity will pay off in the long run. We hope you’ll factor in details like our best-in-class 10/3/1 warranty, acclaimed customer service, intensive R&D engineering, and commitment to quality American craftsmanship when considering your next (or first!) pellet cooker. It’s no wonder the YS640 is known as The World’s Most Versatile Grill.

 When we say “make the investment once and enjoy it for life,” at the end of that video, Yoder Smokers is talking about YOUR life– not the life of your grill. We’re in it for the long haul and we hope you’ll be joining us.

 

 

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House of Q Cooking Classes at ATBBQ #TeamYoder

Our Wichita retailer All Things Barbecue hosts monthly cooking classes in their teaching kitchen. It’s a fantastic set-up with an indoor demo kitchen that features overhead cameras so students can see what the chef’s is doing from all angles and a big outdoor patio with a fleet of smokers and grills to cook on, many of which are Yoder Smokers. ATBBQ’s House Chef Tom Jackson, who creates the recipes for their blog The Sauce leads classes with the help of friends like pitmaster Andy Groneman of Smoke on Wheels BBQ and occasional guest instructors.

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We’ve been lucky enough to have BBQ Brian Misko from Vancouver’s House of Q to preside over classes at ATBBQ twice now and it is always a lot of fun. Brian uses a Yoder Smokers YS1500 in BBQ competitions, taking top calls at such prestigious events as the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue and the World Food Championships. He released his first cookbook, Grilling With House of Q, last year and it quickly became a bestseller in his native Canada. ATBBQ is the exclusive US distributor of House of Q’s popular BBQ sauces and rubs.

Brian Misko of House of Q at All Things BBQ

Brian Misko at ATBBQ YS640

There are certain folks we expect to see at All Things BBQ classes. Steve Hamous, for example, is always there to lend a hand with the Yoder Smokers:

Steve Hamous at ATBBQ Cooking Classes

And Kim’s smiling face is always front and center at classes:

Brian Misko and Kim Rosen at ATBBQ Cooking Classes

Sometimes there are new faces in the room, mostly people from the Wichita area or greater Kansas, often from neighboring states like Oklahoma, Missouri, or Nebraska. But this last class of Brian’s brought visitors who flew in from almost as far away as he did! Randy and Chris came in from Billings, Montana and took the time to drive out and see the factory in Hutchinson where their Yoder Smokers pellet grills were made. They found out about Yoders via social media and learned about the classes through subscribing to ATBBQ’s newsletter and The Sauce’s YouTube channel. Elaine flew in from Nashville, where she cooks on a Loaded Wichita. She enjoyed Brian’s Grilling With House of Q and wanted to meet the guy who could come up with a recipe called “Cockroach Chicken.”

Brian Misko Cooking Classes at ATBBQ

What did Elaine think of her trip?

OMG! It was worth every cent to meet Brian and attend his classes. I learned so much and have already tested my learning. I smoked the best brisket that I have ever eaten! Thank you Brian Misko! My ribs were so good that my next door neighbors deemed them: “out of the park” as in that good! I love my Yoder Loaded Wichita and she is such a pleasure to smoke and grill on. My favorite is “Cockroach Chicken.” Brian’s secret brine is awesome. ATBBQ is such a friendly and warm place to shop and come to classes.

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Here’s Brian’s Cranked Up Meatloaf recipe from ATBBQ’s The Sauce YouTube Channel:

If you’re a Yoder Smokers owner or contemplating becoming one, ATBBQ is a great place to see a wide selection of our cookers all in one place and there is usually something cooking on their patio. Check out their upcoming cooking classes and see if there is anything that piques your interest. And let us know if you’re coming!

Yoder Smokers on Set of Longmire

Yoder Smokers on Set of Longmire

Our Customer Service/Forum Manager Herb McBride and his better half, Alice, got to spend some time in New Mexico recently on the set of TV series Longmire. If you’re not familiar with the show, it is a contemporary western set in Wyoming and it has a fan base that is truly fanatical! Longmire just started filming their fifth season for Netflix and we were pleased as punch that they decided to not only bring back the YS1500 pellet smoker but also to add a new Yoder Smoker 24″ x 48″ charcoal grill! Randy Moore of Great FX keeps us up to speed with onset Yoder-ing on his Instagram #LongmireFX.  Randy’s comments about the new flat-top grill: “I have a habit of buying only the best tools. That’s why I bought the Yoder smoker and grill. The charcoal grill is excellent for burgers like we made in the scene here. Maggie is also looking forward to grilling tomatoes and chili for her salsa. Awesome product. Welds are perfect, steel is thick, design of charcoal grate is neat, and it’s built 100% in the USA! Thank you!

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Herb and Alice had a great time being extras on the show and helping Randy and the Longmire FX crew out with their pits.

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Herb and Alice with Longmire stars Katee Sackhoff (“Vic” Moretti) and Robert Taylor (Walt Longmire):

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Herb and Alice with Tom Wopat (Sheriff Jim Wilkins):

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There was a ton of food, of course, but Herb’s Smoked Crack-ers were, in his own words, a STUPENDOUS hit.

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Having eaten my fair share of these, I know this is the absolute truth! Those things are addictive, hence the name Crack-ers.

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Herb said that in the middle of filming, Katee Sackhoff turn to them and said “you better not hand out all those crackers before I get some!” He reassured her that he and Alice had set aside a small bag just for Robert and her. Phew! You wouldn’t want to tick that lady off…

Herb's Smoked Crack-ers on the Yoder Smoker

Visit the Yoder Smokers Community Forum for Herb’s Smoked Crack-ers Recipe! It’s easy and so addictive that you will never look at a humble saltine the same way…

Cattleman’s Grill Steakhouse Parmesan Cheese Fries

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Just like every cowboy needs a sidekick, every good steak or burger can be made even better with a great side dish.

One of our all-time favorites: Parmesan Cheese Fries, dusted with Cattleman’s Grill Steakhouse Seasoning and fresh herbs. They go with anything, and also make a great main dish – just add leftover brisket, a little more cheese, and call it Irish Nachos. Substitute cheese curds and add gravy for classic Canadian Poutine. The possibilities are endless, especially when you cook them in cast iron on your Yoder Smokers YS640.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4, as an appetizer

3  medium sized potatoes, washed and cut into strips
2  Tbsp Cattleman’s Grill Steakhouse Seasoning
2  Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 – 1/2 Cup  parmesan cheese
1   clove garlic, minced
1   Tbsp fresh parsley, minced

Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat your YS640 for direct grilling at 425º F. (Be sure to remove the diffuser plate or the trap door of your two-piece diffuser plate.) When your pit comes up to temp go ahead and place your oven safe skillet on the grates over the firebox to preheat. We’re using a 12″ Lodge cast-iron skillet.

Make sure to clean your potatoes before cutting, since we are leaving the skin on. (Note: You can slice your french fries any size you want, ours are cut about a 1/4″ the entire length of the potato.) Put your potato slices in a large bowl and coat them with the olive oil, Cattleman’s Grill Steakhouse seasoning, and garlic.

Head to the cooker and place the fries in your preheated skillet. Stir or rotate every 10 minutes to make sure you get that delicious crisp all around. Around the 30 minute mark, or when browned to your liking, sprinkle the fries evenly with parmesan cheese. Shut the cooker door, allowing the cheese to melt over the fries for an additional 5 minutes or so.

Remove from the skillet and top with scallions or parsley to serve.

Add additional toppings (pulled pork, brisket, chili) as desired or dip into ketchup or ranch dressing.

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Competition Cart Upgrade? Try This YS640 Cart DIY

You don’t hear much buyer’s remorse among Yoder Smokers owners in regards to cooking performance. One regret we DO hear a lot, though, is owners wishing they had gone ahead and ordered the competition cart option instead of trying to scrimp and save a little cash by ordering their pellet cooker mounted on a standard cart. They are thrilled to discover you can always upgrade to the competition cart for your YS480 or YS640 whenever you’re ready. But then you’re left with an empty cart on wheels… what do you do with the perfectly good, durable steel Yoder Smokers cart that’s left behind?

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Owner Randy shared his reuse idea on the Team Yoder Facebook Group. He bolted an old tool box onto the YS640 cart, turning it into the perfect accessory caddy/prep station to sit alongside his cooker. Simple but ingenious, much like the Yoder Smokers YS640 pellet cooker itself!

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Tilapia En Papillote on the YS640

Rosemary Tilapia En Papillote on the Yoder Smokers YS640 Pellet Cooker

Weekday meals can be a struggle, especially at the start of a new year when you’re coming down from the holidays and trying earnestly to stick to all of those resolutions about staying in shape. But eating healthy doesn’t have to be a raw deal, especially when you own a Yoder Smokers YS640 pellet cooker. This versatile cooker makes it easy to avoid the temptation of fast food when you’re on the go: throw a couple of extra chicken breasts on the cooker and cube them up to serve over pre-washed greens from the deli section. On weekends, smoke turkey breasts or pork loin and slice thin to make your own lunchmeat without added preservatives or salt. Incorporate more healthy seafood into your diet by trying new flavor profiles and cooking techniques on your YS640.

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Grilling, smoking, sauteeing and baking are all great methods of preparing fish on the Yoder Smokers YS640 but this recipe features our take on the classic French method called En Papillote – “in paper.” You essentially make a cooking pouch out of parchment paper that steams food in its own juices. This method is not only simple to assemble and quick to cook, but there is very little clean up involved… just slide the fish out of the pouch and onto a bed of greens or some brown rice and you’re golden.

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Fin & Feather Rosemary Tilapia En Papillote

INGREDIENTS

Serves 2

1/2 lime, juiced
1 small jalapeño, seeds removed and diced
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 yellow onion, chopped
Plowboy’s BBQ Fin & Feather Rub
2 tilapia fillets, skin removed
parchment paper

Set up your YS640 for indirect grilling at 250º F, with the diffuser plate in place.

Fold a 18″-20″ length of parchment paper in half and place fillets along inner crease. Mix lime juice, jalapeño, garlic, onion and pour over fish. Sprinkle with Fin & Feather rub and place rosemary sprig on top. Fold parchment to cover fish, then fold ends over to create pouch.

Place pouch on the bottom rack of the YS640 and cook for 25-30 min, or until the internal temp of the fish is 140 degrees. The pouch puffs up during cooking, filling with steam, so cut open carefully. Serve immediately.

 

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Public at the Brickyard | #WhyIYoder

Public Gastropub in Wichita uses a Yoder Smokers YS640 Pellet Grill

Tucked away down a flight of stairs just off the square in Wichita’s Old Town district, Public at the Brickyard has the look of a secret club or speakeasy but the friendly atmosphere of your favorite neighborhood bar. Smoked meat was the cornerstone of Travis Russell’s menu concept for Public, which he opened with partners Brooke Russell and Drew Thompson in 2012 in a space that used to be overflow storage and a small kitchen for The Brickyard, the popular open-air nightspot and live music venue that his parents have run for over fifteen years.

Brooke and Travis Russell of Public with their Yoder Smokers YS640 Pellet Grill

Since their space available was limited, Travis’ goal was to create rich, layered dishes without a full-service kitchen and he knew that smoking meat on the patio could add a lot of versatility to their menu without taking room away from the cramped cooking quarters. It was important to Public’s owners to differentiate their food from traditional bar fare, which leans heavily on deep frying and frozen goods.

Public's Travis Russell harvests herbs at Public for cooking on the Yoder YS640

They wanted to showcase the depth and variety of locally grown produce and meat, using Wichita-area vendors as much as possible, and change the menu seasonally according to availability – a commitment carried over from the restaurants they worked at in college. (The Russells met at KU, while working at Pachamama’s in Lawrence, and they credit owner Ken Baker for instilling the entrepreneurial spirit in the generational staff there. Travis also worked at Cafe Osage in St. Louis while in graduate school, a restaurant that is housed within an urban garden and is heavily involved in community organization and sustainability.) Using local produce and meat gives back to the community, but it also helps to strengthen entrepreneurial growth. Brooke notes that when Public opened, it was hard to find many local vendors to work with but they have since tripled that number and seen a lot of new growth in the Wichita farm, foodie and beer arena.

Interior | Public at the Brickyard

The idea of using what is available is evident in Public’s decor, much of which was built themselves or salvaged in what they like to refer to as a gigantic art project: the tables and floors were made with antique maple wood reclaimed from the Lemp Brewery in St. Louis, a lot of the newspapers and ephemera come from Drew’s grandfather who was the editor of the KC Star, and the lamps that provide the warm glow above the bar were made with a mason jar collection from an aunt in Medicine Lodge, diners receive their bills tucked neatly between the pages of old hard-bound books.

Public Gastropub in Wichita uses a Yoder Smokers YS640 Pellet Grill

True to their DIY spirit, Public’s initial foray into smoked meat started with Travis rigging his backyard charcoal kettle grill with a fan. They quickly moved on to a pellet grill Travis’ dad had purchased from a big box store but were constantly dealing with issues: the auger kept jamming, fire blew back into the chamber, it flat-out died. They went through three of them before they realized they should have just gotten a Yoder Smokers YS640. “We did it backwards,” Travis laughs. “The only thing we need now is a bigger Yoder!”

Yoder Smokers YS640 Pellet Grill | Public at the Brickyard

“You have to get to know your cooker,” says Travis, who praises the control and consistency of the YS640. “Pellet is the way to go!” Public uses a blend of apple and pecan pellets for a slightly nutty, sweet smoke that reminds Travis of the annual Walnut Valley Folk Festival held in nearby Winfield. Their gastropub-esque plates blend equatorial and subtropical inspiration with classic Americana: their Vietnamese Banh Mi and Cuban Sandwich co-exist peacefully with Papa Bear’s Brisket Tacos and bison/beef Prairie Sliders as House Favorites. Other fabulous menu options include smoked chicken, ribs, house-made pickles, chicken and waffles, pizzas, and more… many fine choices, many featuring YS640-smoked meat or vegetables.

Chicken on the Yoder Smokers YS640 Pellet Grill at Public Gastropub

“Having the YS640 on our patio is the best advertisement,” Brooke jokes. “The smell of smoked meat is hard to resist.” Luckily, Public also excels at something that goes very well with smoked meat: beer.  They feature a vast, rotating selection draft brews from some of the country’s finest craft breweries, including several from right here in Wichita. It’s not a hard sell to sidle up to Public’s behemoth carved wooden bar to try a pint or two.

Craft Brew on tap at Public

When we were setting up the photos for this story, Joseph from Public’s kitchen staff ran out to make sure the YS640 was staying put. “You’re not taking it away, are you?!”

No way, Joey! Public and Yoder make a pretty great team here in Wichita.

The Staff | Public at the Brickyard

 


Public at the Brickyard
129 N. Rock Island Road
Wichita, Kansas 67202
(316) 263-4044

Central Texas Brisket on the YS640

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Yoder owners are THE BEST. Hands-down.

Need proof? Check out our Official Forum, a place where current and future owners come together to share tips, tricks, and mouthwatering photos from their barbecue arsenals. Central Texas brisket has been a hot topic for a while, due in no small part to that Beard Award-winning fella down in Austin and the recent shortage of what used to be a cheap and abundant cut of beef. The story and photos below were posted by forum user Scott, who was on a mission to replicate Texan brisket bark in Western Michigan using his YS640. Looks like he nailed it!

Central Texas Style Brisket on the Yoder Smokers YS640 pellet grill

Central Texas Barbecue is my favorite style, bar none, and it’s what I always go for with my brisket. I’ve smoked quite a few briskets on my YS640 since purchasing, but this one ended up being the best so far… a success on every level. Well, almost every level. I wrote down some notes and took photos along the way and figured maybe this might be of some interest to my fellow pitmasters.

The Meat
A 15 lb Choice packer. I live in West Michigan and packers have alway been an expensive proposition – around $8.50lb; often for just select grade!! However, in a most bizarre and awesome turn of events, this summer nearly every butcher shop in the area has started carrying packers of choice grade at a much more reasonable $4.50/lb. Still more than what you’d pay in Texas to be sure, but much more affordable for us West Michigan Yankees. This new found brisket bonanza actually corresponds with something of a barbecue renaissance in this area – with no less than 3 barbecue joints opening up in downtown Grand Rapids just this summer! Even more shocking is that they are all offering some pretty serious brisket, and sell all meat by the pound. NICE.
Packer Brisket for the Yoder Smokers YS640

The Trim
I lost probably about 3lb or so of inedible fat and browned meat edges. This was a really great cut, with nice marbling and a deckle that wasn’t out of control, haha. I also trimmed off every bit of silver skin on the back side. I hate the stuff with a passion and getting all of it off with ensure that the rub sticks like glue when you go to pull and then slice.
Trimming Brisket for the Yoder Smokers YS640

The Rub
Nothing but Texas Rub, baby! That is to say, kosher salt and coarse black pepper. Absolutely, positively nothing else. No sugar, no cayenne, no olive oil before the rub, no mustard bath before the rub…nothing. It’s taken me awhile to finally adobt the purity of what Franklin Barbecue, Blacks, Cranky Franks, and other classic Central Texas barbecue joints use and I will never go back. Ever. It’s not that I’m against a savory blend of other spices for the rub. Those can be really good. It’s just that Aaron Franklin and others are right on the money when they stress, like gospel, that salt and pepper is all the meat needs. If you’ve never tried it; if you have doubts….give it a go just once. Don’t do mustard or any other base. A nice choice grade of meat with good marbling will not need it. You will be amazed at the purity and flavor.
Simple Brisket Rub for the Yoder Smokers YS640

The Cook
(Yoder set to 250° for the entire cook Damper set to slightly, maybe an inch or so, to the left of dead center so that I’d get a bit more heat on the point – which is always positioned closest to the heat grate). At the very start of my Yoder experience I took everything out before seasoning, set the damper so that it’s exactly dead center in the pit, then marked that location with a sharpie pen on the stainless rack above the damper handle. I can then see instantly where I need to set my damper to start for an even cook, or adjust accordingly depending on my needs

I put a small stainless steel bowl full of water on the top rack. While the bottom rack is best, this still helps keep the meat moist.

At no point did I mist. Misting is the enemy of great bark. Unless you’ve got a massive propane tank cooker that can hold 4 or 5 briskets, misting a brisket on a Yoder is completely unnecessary and will only serve to dampen your bark. I’m not saying don’t do it because for a lot of pitmasters the misting is an important part of the process and taste they are after. If you desire Central Texas style like I do, then don’t mist.

FAT SIDE UP. No self respecting Texan – or a Yankee like me who fancies himself a self respecting Texan – is going to smoke a brisket fat side down.

I decided to mix it up a bit for this cook. Normally I cook for 7 hours and then wrap in butcher paper for another 3 or so until I hit an internal at the flat of 210° and 200° for the point. Then I’ll rest for anywhere from an hour to four hours in the oven (still wrapped in the paper, of course) on a warm setting. I’ve found that there’s very little difference from a 2 hour rest to a 4 hour rest in terms of juiciness. At the one hour mark it’s fine, but I go at least 2.

For this cook, however, I went completely unwrapped the entire cook. I got the thing on at 10:45pm and pulled it the next morning at 8:07am. 9hrs and 20min total time. The internals were: Point = 202°, Flat = 210°. You honestly do not want the flat to go any higher than that and, in fact, I should have pulled it at 205° or so.

I honestly thought I’d be cooking longer, but I always forget how efficient the Yoder is as compared to a stick burner. Those temp variations are so small! I set my alarm to go off every 90min so that I could wake up and check the pellet hopper and make sure everything was going smoothly. All temptations to peek were resisted! LOL.

I never inject my brisket. Ever. Doing so is criminal. If you cook your brisket right – with a nice choice grade – there’s zero need to inject.
Brisket Bark on a Yoder Smokers YS640

The Rest
After the brisket was pulled, I wrapped it in butcher paper and tossed it into my regular oven on the warm setting. I have no idea the temp…it just says ‘warm.’ This was a very long rest: 7 hours!! I normally don’t rest that long but things got going around the house and we didn’t slice until much later than expected. No worries. As I mentioned earlier, there’s no difference I can ever tell between that 2 hour rest to a 4 hour rest… or a 7 hour rest. I read all this stuff that people insist on at least a 5 hour rest or whatever. I don’t agree. I also never do the whole ‘wrap in towels and rest in a cooler or cambro’ thing. I find dragging out my cooler for storing brisket to be highly annoying and it always needs cleaning so… oven it is!

Now, let’s get down to the heart of this thing: I long ago stopped using foil for my brisket cooks and resting because FOIL IS THE ENEMY. As mentioned above, I usually wrap with butcher paper at the 7 hour mark, but used it here for just the rest. Here’s why: Resting in the butcher paper will absolutely retain your moisture and heat but, even if you overwrap, the meat can still breath inside. Even after becoming saturated with the wonderful juice and oils, it still breathes. Foil never breathes. It simply steams your meat and makes the bark into a soggy mess.

If you haven’t made the switch to butcher paper, give it a try. You used to have to order it from obscure online restaurant supply houses but now Amazon has it for a great price and very fast delivery!
Brisket Resting In Paper

The Result
This was the best brisket I’ve smoked yet. Getting to what the great barbecue writer and blogger Daniel Vaughn calls that ‘sugar cookie’ bark is so rewarding and a blessing!!

That’s not to say there weren’t some niggling problems. The bottom of the brisket was very nearly burned. I mean, just barely shy of that point. Close. Very close. It was a bit crunchy, but thankfully not burned. I should have wrapped at about the 7.5 to 8hr mark. Just looking at the thing I can tell that the last hour is when the crunch was probably formed. Even sticking to my original process of the 7 hour mark would be fine but… this brisket had the best bark I’ve done and that was my mission on this cook.

The flat – even the end of the flat – was moist. The juice was everywhere, in every slice and nugget. Long after the slicing, every remaining piece was juicy. The burnt ends and bulk end of the point were swimming in juice; even the remnants an hour after slicing were still juicy. Love that!
Central TX Brisket on the Yoder YS640 Pellet Cooker

Well, that’s it! Sorry for the long post but I love talking about this stuff! I’ve still got so much to learn, but really enjoyed those posts where folks go into serious detail. They’ve been such a help, and hopefully this post will do the same for someone just starting out. I love my Yoder!!!

Juicy Texas-style brisket cooked on a Yoder Smokers YS640

 

 

A Visit to the Yoder Smokers Factory

Have you ever wondered where your Yoder Smoker was born? Wonder no further! Here are some highlights from a recent visit to our factory in Hutchinson, Kansas where raw steel is sheared, shaped and welded to become the world’s finest barbecue pits.

Choosing The Right Pellet Grill

Yoder Smokers might not have been the first to come up with the concept of a smoker that runs on compressed wood pellets, but we put our experience building high quality offset pit smokers from heavy gauge steel into manufacturing the very best pellet cooker on the market. We’ve put more time and money into research and development than marketing swag and celebrity endorsements, and it’s paid off with a solid range of American-made pellet grills that are durable, dependable, and quite literally award-winning for the folks who cook on them.

Yoder Smokers Pellet Cookers

The YS Pellet Cooker Series is made up of three models: the YS480, the YS640, and the YS1500. The number in each model’s name corresponds to the area of cooking surface it offers, in square inches. Each one offers indirect and direct cooking, offering incredible versatility and ease of use for anything from barbecue to baking. (Note: the YS480 and YS640 are also available with competition cart bases like the one shown on the YS1500 for added mobility.)

We know we’re not the only pellet grill on the block. But we think the difference is obvious, especially when you see one in person. Check our Dealer Locator to see if there is a retailer near you. Yoder Smokers pellet cookers are made from heavy gauge steel, with an attention to detail you just don’t find in pits made outside of the USA. We put a lot of pride into what we put out into the world, so much so that our warranty is the best among our peers: 10 years on the body of the cooker, 3 years on the electronics, and one year on the igniter.

There are plenty of places to find information online about our pellet cookers and those manufactured by our competitors. If you’re looking for a place to ask specific questions about how Yoder Smokers match up to other brands, from pitmasters who have considered and/or cooked on a variety of makes and models, our Community Forum is a good place to start. Facebook groups like Team Yoder Smokers and Yoder Smokers Australia & NZ  are also a great resource.

Take a look around and let us know if you have any questions. We’re always happy to help. We want you to make the right decision for your needs, and we hope it’s a Yoder Smoker.