I would like to say hello and introduce myself. My name is Ernie Rupp. I am based out of Kansas City and I am a new blogger and for DrapersBBQ.com. I am a pharmacist in my daily life but my passion is BBQ. I am mostly a backyard barbecuer but have competed in a few contests and recieved a few calls. I will be blogging on pretty much everything. Product reviews, television shows, cook books, recipies and anything else that I think you will find interesting. If you have an idea for me that you want to see in the blog please contact me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can catch me on twitter at @qsyourdaddy. I look forward to blogging for Draper’s BBQ and I hope you like what I have to say.
Living in Kansas City has a few advantages: a BBQ joint on every corner, The American Royal and we are very close to one of the finest manufacturers of grills and smokers in the world, Yoder Smokers. Yoder Smokers has a 70,000 sq. ft. factory in the heart of Kansas where they make smokers for competition and backyard use. The YS 480 and the YS 640 were their first try at pellet grills and they did not want to disappoint. I will be reviewing my personal YS 640 that I bought in March of 2011. I have been using it for the last 15 months and would like to share my thoughts with you.
The YS 640 weighs in at over 300lbs due to its heavy duty construction. It has 10 gauge steel in the cooking chamber and 14 gauge steel in the pellet hopper and cart. It boasts 640 square inches of cooking space that I chose to increase to 1070 square inches with the addition of a second cooking shelf. The YS 640 has a temperature range of 150 degrees F to 500 degrees F. At lower temps it will perform like a smoker and high temps it will perform like a grill and even seer a steak. The YS 640 is painted with a high temperature urethane finish to help it prevent rust and last a lifetime. The YS 640 comes with a 10yr warranty on the body of the smoker and 3yr warranty on control system. This machine has a huge pellet hopper able to hold 18lbs of pellets for that long day of cooking.
As I stated earlier, I have had my YS 640 for about 15 months and have smoked in all 4 seasons. This pellet grill performs fantastic in cold weather. I smoked 3 turkeys between Thanksgiving and New Years and had no problem holding temp in winter weather/temps. It also recovers fast after you open the lid to baste product. The YS 640 also cooks very evenly. I just did 6 slabs of ribs on Mother’s Day this year and the ribs on my top rack were as well cooked as the ribs on the bottom level. I have not discovered any hot or cold spots on this model. Cleanup with the Yoder is easy. Clean the stainless steel grates with a good grill brush, replace the foil on the grease collection ramp and empty the ashes from the fire-pot and you are set to go again.
What I like
I love the way this unit is constructed. The doors to both the cooking chamber and the pellet hopper are inset. This gives the unit a better look and less leakage than other pellet grills. The 10 gauge steel of the cooking chamber is tough. Not only will it last a lifetime of cooking but it is resistant to the elements. The day I placed my YS 640 on my deck, we were hit with golf ball size hail. Lots of damage to my house but my YS 640 did not have a dent in it. Everything I have cooked with my Yoder YS 640 has turned out as good if not better than my stick burner. Fast start up is another thing I like about the YS 640. From the time I press the start button it takes 10 to 15 minutes to get to cooking temperature. Lastly I love that I bought a product that is made in the USA.
What I wish I could change
I would only change one thing about this pellet grill. I would change the front and side shelf to a solid shelf instead of the wire rack look. A full stainless steel shelf would make it look cooler (in my opinion) and hopefully I would not spill as much on my deck. The guys at Yoder Smokers are always updating the features of their smokers. They can usually retrofit a new feature to your old smoker if you wish.
I am thrilled with the purchase of the Yoder YS 640. I researched pellet grills for almost a year before I pulled the trigger on this one. The Yoder has everything I needed: Fast start-up, low maintenance, easy cleaning and at the time it was a lot less expensive than most pellet grills on the market. I was able to personally speak with Don Cary at Yoder Smokers and he answered all of my questions. Yoder ships anywhere in the US (freight fees apply) and can make arrangements when service is needed. If you are in the market for a pellet grill/smoker, check out yodersmokers.com and see what they can do for you.