Yoder is a brand revered by competition cooks for well-designed high end charcoal and wood fired smokers and BBQ grills made in the USA. In 2010 they introduced two pellet cookers. The YS640 is the largest. The numbers stand for the square inches of cooking surface with an optional second shelf that adds 65% to the cooking surface area. So the YS640 has 640 square inches of primary cooking surface, about 11.5" of headroom, and the main grate is 20" deep. It comes with a sophisticated, proprietary digital controller. Yoder asserts they are not PID controllers and not based on any off-the-shelf temperature controller of any sort. Yoder states they designed the board from scratch around a general purpose micro-controller chip and wrote their own code from the ground up in an attempt to provide superior flexibility, efficiency and accuracy. We have not tested Yoder's Pellet Smokers, but they have a very good reputation and consensus among owners is favorable.
A unique feature is Yoder's Variable Displacement Damper (shown above), a metal plate that may be moved from left to right along the lower smoke box. Positioned all the way left, it concentrates heat directly over the fire pot for conductive searing with optional aluminum GrillGrates. Move it back to the right for even heat across the entire smokebox.
The 640 is 32" wide, weighs 313 pounds, and is said to have a cooking range from 150 to 600°F. Hopper capacity is twenty pounds. The cooking chamber is 10 gauge and the hopper and cart are 14 gauge, finished with high temp urethane. That is thick steel, great for heat retention. The grill body has a 10 year warranty, three years on the control system and one year on the igniter.
Looked Closely At It
We have seen this product up close and we have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners, and other reliable sources.
Yoder Smokers are built for serious backyard and competitive cooking and they have a great reputation for craftsmanship. The bodies of all Yoder offset smokers are made from new 1/4" thick steel pipe and plate and have a lifetime guarantee against burnout. There are several sizes and types available to match the capacity and cooking style you want, and if that is not enough, they say they can customize any unit to your needs. Most of their units are offset smokers, with a side firebox, and the fireboxes have a removable cooking grate if you want to grill in them.
Yoder has a strong connection to the venerable Oklahoma Joe 1/4" pits, which is apparent in many of their designs. They also make a variety of quality pellet smokers.