Ryan Wallace purchased a Yoder Smokers YS640 pellet grill in 2016. About a year later he stopped to reflect on his purchase and then created a video that goes over some of his pros and cons since owning the smoker. The transcript of the video review is posted here, but if you’d like to watch it you can find it linked here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIdg5BIkK6U
Yoder Smokers YS640 Review – from Ryan Wallace
One of my goals initially with this channel was to talk about my experience with finding the perfect grill that fit for my cooking scenario. You know I had a Weber gas grill which I loved. It was a great grill. But I got to the point where I didn’t want to just cook burgers hot dogs steaks and things like that. I think the gas grill was great for (that) because it was quick on, cook, quick off, easy cleanup. I started to research the different types of grills that are out there from Big Green Eggs to these Pro Weber charcoal grills to smokers and things like that. And for a long time, about a year, I found out Weber was coming out with this Summit charcoal grill which was a Big Green Eggs type grill. It was their answer to a ceramic grill, but it had some of the features of what their kettle grill has with the propane QuickStart. It used charcoal, you could use wood, you could smoke with it, and for about a year to year and a half that was the grill I was going to get.
I started putting some money away. It was expensive. It was like $2 grand and you know I had read stuff about Big Green Eggs and all these other things so that’s what I was going to get. And at the last minute I started finding these videos by All Things Barbecue. They’re The Sauce channel, it’s a YouTube page they have. But I started watching their cooking videos and they kept using this Yoder YS640, which I knew nothing about. As I started doing research on these pellet grills I found there were mixed reviews on them. What some of the issues were and that they were great for smoking. That technology was neat because it kind of “set it and forget it” mentality. But the issue was they were just great for smoking. Doing normal things like grilling burgers or hotdogs or something quick was tough to do. And that was something I still wanted to do and something the Weber would afford me. I could do these long smokes but if I just wanted to do something quick I could take advantage of that.
What I found was the Yoder was a little bit different.
Their firebox was off to the left, plugs in, it has software in it where you set the temperature just like you do with your oven in your house. And if you put the temperature to 350 it uses an auger out of the hopper to feed the firebox pellets to get the temperature to 350 and it monitors that temperature and it holds that temperature continuing to feed pellets as it needs to maintain that heat. I think the thing that drew me to it the most was the software in it that allowed you to set a temperature. And as long as there were pellets in the hopper it would maintain that temperature. Because one of the things I was reading about all these guys out there that are doing these long smokes was they’re attached to that grill during that time. And if you’re cooking a brisket or any long smoke. I mean you’re talking 12-16 hours you could be sitting at this grill maintaining the fire. And while that sounds great and there’s I think some pride in that. And the true guys out there that are doing these competitions they pride themselves on managing this heat. I just, with everyday life, I didn’t want to be stuck in the house handcuffed to that grill during these smokes. I wanted to have the ability to throw something on there. Put a temperature on and walk away. I’ve had it now almost a year, done several cooks on it. I’ve done some quick things like burgers. And last night we did burgers, hot dogs, chicken. And then I’ve done brisket. I’ve done pulled pork. I’ve done ribs. So, I just wanted to show you guys the grill, go over what I like about it, some of the things I don’t like about it. It’s a mess right now but I thought, “Hey I’ll show you what it looks like after a cook” and go through it. So, first things first, before I show you the grill, we run through the grill. I’ve got to run to Lowe’s and get some supplies so let’s take a little trip. [Music]
We made it to Lowe’s. I had a little complication with the time lapse so that’ll be interesting. My biggest struggle with coming to Lowe’s is Best Buy’s right next to it. And if I’m going to be at Lowe’s I always have this temptation to go check out new gadgets at Best Buy. I’m going to resist the temptation of going over there. There’s nothing I need so let’s get in there and get out of here. In and out of Lowe’s without any issues. I didn’t go into Best Buy. Cameron’s not with me so I don’t have to go to Five And Below. I am going to have to run to Home Depot. Another project I’ve been working on is my front lawn. I’ve got this patch of grass that just won’t grow. I’ve done everything you can think of, no luck. Unfortunately, Lowe’s doesn’t have any sod so we’re going to go over to Home Depot and get that stuff before we head home and take care of the grill. Mission accomplished Home Depot had what I was looking for, 10 rolls of sod that I’m going to lay down either before after the grill extravaganza. But uh time to go home and get to work. So, I’m back from running my errands. I got the sod laid, everything set up there. Now I have time to commit to doing this project with the grill. You know I am going to start with the thing I like least about the grill. It’s minor but it’s there nonetheless. And I hate starting with a negative. I’m a positive person. And I wanted to go over all the things I like about it. But now that I’ve had it about a year there’s some things I need to do to touch it up and kind of go through it. I cooked on it last night I haven’t cleaned it yet so I’m almost starting backwards. I’m going to clean the grill, get some things in line, talk about the one thing I don’t like about it. And then I’ll go into all the things I like about it. So bear with me. I’m going to speed through some of this and jump around. I don’t think you guys need to see me clean the grill. But that’s where we’re at right now. So first let’s start with the grill cover. The grill cover is great! My neighbor made a funny comment. It’s the first grill cover he’s ever seen that was fitted like yoga pants are. And it is! It’s fitted. You’ve got the chimney over here, so you’ve got that section. This is where the handle is. The hopper’s over here with the handles cut out. Here the only downside of that is because it’s fitted, and because you have these little areas, you get water that just sits there and collects. The other thing is, it’s great it’s water-resistant, but I still noticed I’m getting some areas on the grill where it’s like moisture is getting through the material, so I went on Amazon and I had bought this spray and I’ll put it in the description if you want to check it out. But I bought this spray that I sprayed down. It’s used for like motorcycle covers and stuff. It’s just an additional waterproofing feature for the grill. So there’s that. The other thing is I keep, and that’s not there right now it’s probably in the grill cover, but I keep just up either trash bag or some kind of material over this hopper. They recommend you empty this every time. I don’t empty it I leave everything in there, so I put something over top of it just to keep water from getting in there or water gets on those pellets they turn into cement and they expand. Its seems to be a nightmare. So, the initial thing you can see right off the bat are these little areas where the paint’s just starting to chip and it’s starting to rust. This is the only thing about the grill I’m not happy about. They put this coating on it that’s not like the Weber coatings, which has its pros and cons. Their thought is, “If we don’t put that coating on then you can touch up the grill and you can make it look brand new again.” Whereas with those Weber grills, if they get nicked or anything like that you’re just done. You’re left with what you have. So, I’m getting all these little spots where you got rust. And I take pretty good care of this grill. I cover it up after I use it. I mean just all this rust. And then even on these grates. And it might be hard to see but I’ve got rust on these grates. Again, I clean it when I’m done with it. I keep it covered, it’s not under a deck or any kind of covering it’s just the grill cover. But I’m a little disappointed that in less than a year I have the amount of rust that I have on it. >What I’m going to do today is, before I get into, that let me show you the inside. Inside looks really good. This is the two-piece diffuser plate. Again, I just cooked on this so it’s a mess and that’s why I’m going to clean it today. But I figure you can see me go through that process and see what it looks like. So, this rust issue I’m experiencing with the grill’s clearly something that Yoder’s aware of and familiar with because there on their chat boards it’s talked about a lot. When I bought the grill (it) came with this Yoder spray paint. It’s a Yoder Smokers satin black high-performance spray paint and they have all these recommendations for keeping up with your grill and keeping it clean. The first thing I’m going to do is clean it with the citrusy. They recommend you clean it with some type of citrus to get all the gunk off the outside of it, which I’m going to do. Then I’m going to take a 120-grit sandpaper and I’m going to get all that rust out of there and get it down to the metal. I’m going to put a link in the description, so you guys can see what’s going on and how they recommend you clean it. So, if you end up getting this grill you’ll have a place to come back and see what recommendations are. >Once I get it all sanded down and get all the rough spots out then I’m going to turn the grill on and get it warm, like 180 degrees. And then I’m going to spray paint it. It will be interesting to see how this turns out, I’m a little bit nervous, to be honest, when you buy an expensive grill. And I haven’t had to do something like this before. But then again, I haven’t bought a grill that’s designed for smoking.
So, let’s get to it.
I could take a little break we got a rain shower right as I turned on the grill. Rain stopped. I’m going to spray-paint the smoker when it’s all heated up and see how this works. It looks pretty good. I’m not an expert at painting as you can see but I think this looks pretty solid. I was a little skeptical but let me let this dry in and I’ll check it out and get back to you guys. Quick update so the grill’s dried. Everything looks great. We’ve been getting rain off and on so I’m going to call it quits. The kids are hungry, Lindsay went to the Sam Hunt concert so I’m going to finish this tomorrow. But I think it’s looking really good right now. I’m actually surprised how well it did. I ran out of paint so there’s one spot that still needs to be touched up. Need to finish the chimney. But overall there’s one little spot over here. It does look really good. I’ll give it to Yoder, know I didn’t expect it to turn out as well as it did, and I was a little annoyed, but they know what they’re doing. I followed the instructions sanded everything down and it does look good. I guess if you’re going to invest in a expensive grill there’s going to be maintenance. It’s not like a Weber where you set it and forget it. So, cleaning the grill is done. I got up this morning, came out, got everything cleaned up. Grill is almost back to a hundred percent. I’m still waiting on paint, so I can finish a couple spots I didn’t get to complete, but overall the grill looks great.
So, let’s dive into the pluses and the minuses about the Yoder. So here it is the Yoder YS640.
Start off the biggest complaint I’ve read thus far about the grill is the wheels. People complain the wheels aren’t robust and they’re just puny. You know I don’t hate on the wheels because I don’t move it but a couple feet either direction to get around it. So, I have no issues with it. Over to the left you have the pellet hopper and on the front, this is your control panel. It’s got on/off, you’ve got an increase button here. Take the temperature up or down every five degrees, decrease, start (all) self-explanatory. And then this prime button. I like that prime button because if you open the hood and the temperature falls off it will add more pellets more quickly. Here’s the display it’s at 397 and when you see the bars going straight across it’s telling you it’s maintaining the temperature there. And my temperature I have it set right now it is at 400. And here you have the hopper where all the pellets go. There’s an auger down here that pushes the pellets into the firebox. So, all you need to do is keep that thing full and the grill itself manages the temperature inside. You have your top rack for smoking. They make this in a half shelf, which I’m going to get at some point because when I’m doing burgers right now I have to pull this out. With the half shelf, you could leave that in. Throw some things up there and use it like a normal grill. Over here, if you can see it, that’s the door for the diffuser plate. They have a one-piece diffuser plate and they have a two-piece diffuser plate. I love the two-piece diffuser plate because, as you can see, I’ve got my grill grates right here. These are a must for grilling. I throw those over the opening and I can grill burgers hot dogs anything you would want. And there’s the flame. The pellets fall right from the side. So, this design is what I think makes it the best pellet grill. because the firebox is off to the left. A lot of these grills have their pellet box in the center, so all the fire is right in the middle of the grill. This allows you to do grilling on the left. You can do stuff on the right it’s a great grill. The other thing, these wire racks I loved initially but I’m not a huge fan of anymore. For some reason (they) are rusting like crazy and I probably will switch these. They (Yoder Smokers) make a full stainless-steel shelf for the left and for the front and the right side. I think that’s going to be easier. Plus, if you try to balance like barbecue sauce or little things on there, they always tip over. So, I end up using cutting boards. The last thing is over here you have this arm that pulls out. And when you pull it all the way out it’s designed for smoking. When you push it in you can keep that fire controlled over at the left of the grill. That’s it! So, who is this grill perfect for and who should consider investing the $1400 to $2,000 to have a Yoder? When I started this, I mentioned how I was dead set on getting the Weber Summit charcoal grill. It was Weber’s answer to the Big Green Egg and the Kamado Joes. While I still feel that the Weber Summit charcoal grill is a great grill, the reviews have been great, I couldn’t get over the fact that the Yoder, for one, had a larger area internally so I could do more with it. If I wanted to do a huge barbecue and throw ribs on and a brisket and all these other things, I can do it on this grill. Additionally, it manages the temperature. That’s the thing I can’t get away from is it works like an oven. I set the temperature to whatever I want, and it manages the temperature on its own. As long as there’s pellets in the hopper it’ll take care of maintaining that heat. So, for some of these things you do a brisket it’s 16 hours. And while I don’t knock the guys that are true pit masters and want to sit there and manage the fire on their Big Green Eggs or their stick burning off center smokers, whatever they’re called. You know I don’t have the time to sit here for 16 hours and manage a fire. Then when I started doing more research about managing the fire on these on the either the Weber Summit charcoal grill or the Big Green Eggs they make this device the, BBQ guru which is an add-on. It monitors the temperature of the grill and when it needs to come up a fan kicks on to blow air into the fire pit and get the temperature where it needs to be. So, you have this technology monitoring the firebox. And for me it was like, well if I’m going to spend $300 on that for a ceramic or some kettle type grill, why wouldn’t I get a Yoder? Which does that and it’s not an add-on – it’s how the grill comes. So ultimately, I decided to go with the Yoder. I think it’s a great grill for someone that is interested in getting into smoking, maybe they are a novice, maybe they do competitions. I’m hearing more and more about people taking this grill to competitions. But someone that wants to eliminate the need to manage a fire. If you want to eliminate the need to manage a fire but produce a great end product this is the grill to get. Again, I will say I’ve missed the ease of my gas grill, turning it on temperature came up. But since I’ve had this grill more and more people complement the food that comes off of it. So, I’ve been really happy with it. Little things here and there with having to maintain the external look of the grill, with having to sand down any rough spots and cleaning it can be a pain having to pull everything off. But overall it is an outstanding grill.
The food that comes off of it has just been phenomenal.
So hopefully it’s helpful and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave me a message (on YouTube) and I’ll do the best I can to answer. Thanks so much for checking in.