The Kingman provides double the amount of vent area compared to the Wichita.
So this must explain why our Kingman is ok then with the door closed. I do have some scorching near the top vent on my kingman. There is no way I am moving the Kingman to cook. Its been in same place since I purchased it
Yes, I think this might explain why the Kingman is outperforming the Wichita. To be fair, this entire issue most likely started with the introduction of the heat management plate, because it drastically alters the low point into the cooker body. Without the heat management plate installed, the low point into the cooker is the welded ash deflector, which is quite a bit higher.
I wanted to see if there was a relation between the low point of the heat management plate and the point where heat escapes the upper vent hole, so I did a small experiment.
I put a 6' level under the heat management plate and then leveled it to see where it would intersect with the fire door. My theory is that the point where the top of the level intersects the door is where the heat build-up and smoke accumulate in the firebox.
Since the cooker is designed to slope downward, it is important to make sure the unit is sitting on level ground for the test. The bottom shelf is mounted horizontally level above the feet/wheels, so I checked for a level installation there:
From this view you can see the level is wedged up tight against the bottom of the heat management plate, and is being held in a level position with some props:
Here's the proof that the level is centered on the bubble:
... and here is where it extends from the firebox and intersects with the fire door:
Now, looking at the inside of my fire door after numerous cooks, the smoke/heat build-up line is obviously in the exact same spot where the 6' level intersected with the door. Considering the Wichita's factory intake vent area is slightly undersized in the first place, the loss of usable vent area above this line leaves an inadequate amount of vent area to feed the fire with the door closed, hence the smoldering issues Wichita owners have complained about. Also note how clean the door is below that line!
The fact that the Kingman works better is probably just blind luck given the fact that the design is exactly the same. The one notable difference is its oversized vent openings. The Kingman can lose about 9 square inches of vent area and still have enough area to satisfy Feldon's intake vent results for a 24" firebox.
I don't have an actual Kingman to test, but if I use the specification from Yoder's Website to create a virtual test drawing, I see a similar result, but with a slightly smaller portion of the upper vent opening showing above the smoke line. This explains why the Kingman owners don't have to leave the fire door open like the Wichita owners, because they might only be losing 6 to 8 square inches of available vent area from the upper vent, and there is still adequate area to feed the fire with the door closed.
Some of the Kingman owners have argued that us Wichita owners must be doing something wrong since they aren't experiencing the same issues, but the science exonerates us!
The bottom line: Either the heat management plate has to move up, or the vent has to move down. In my opinion, the entire firebox needs to move down before anything else is done, since that is the core issue here.
We appreciate the testing you have performed and will take this into consideration moving into the future. There is absolutely a mathematical formal between intake and exhaust that has proven to be very reliable over the years. This formal was developed over many years of testing and building product to specified customer needs. We are always willing to take advice and are committed to product improvement. This post has been heard and will be taken into consideration moving forward. We build hundreds of custom products each year that are too customer specification in cooking style and temperature ranges. There are various theories and mathematical possibilities that are out there, some are better than others. This subject has been debated and discussed for as long as people have been putting logs in a piece of pipe to cook. We think we have found the best compromise, as with anything there is always room for improvement.
We have offered to build you a new door or would be open to any other modification that you may suggest. We are here to help.
Thanks for the post.
This has been a brilliant thread, and I have really enjoyed watching it evolve over the past few months.
Well done Slamkeys, and kudos to you on your efforts. Really thoughtful, considered and thorough.
I also commend Yoder Smokers - especially if they subscribe to an evolution of their products. Always be raising the bar to provide the very best - not only in quality of manufacture - but in design and development.
Robcapp wrote:...and I'm no thermodynamics engineer....but I'd consider experimenting with lowering the firebox, getting rid of the butterfly vents and using a slotted slide style vent used on the square fireboxes.!
Yoder_Joe wrote:We think we have found the best compromise, as with anything there is always room for improvement.
Yoder_Herb wrote:We are always willing to work with you, or anyone, on a custom configuration for your dream cooker.
Yoder_Herb wrote:Robcapp wrote:...and I'm no thermodynamics engineer....but I'd consider experimenting with lowering the firebox, getting rid of the butterfly vents and using a slotted slide style vent used on the square fireboxes.!
We are always willing to work with you, or anyone, on a custom configuration for your dream cooker. Call 877.409.6337, extension 1 to discuss.
In final response to this topic. We have and always will pursue to build the best product we possibly can. We value customer feedback and continually evolve our product lines based on this type of communication. We are not interested in being right, in our business the customer is always right and we do everything we can to accommodate any and all issues or suggestions. This kind of commitment is rare in todays fast pace world. We have made the commitment to evaluate this section of our product line and see if we can improve the overall experience. We are currently doing this. We have sold thousands of wood pits across the world and have done so with great success. Nobody ever suggested that our product is infallible nor are we going to provide affirmation of something that we haven't tested to determine the source of the complaint. The customer experience dictates that we need to have a look at the product and see what if anything can or should be done. If we have given the impression we are not listening that certainly isn't the case. These kind of changes can be complicated and we need to be sure that we aren't going cause another issue down the line.
Our product couldn't be such a success without our customers. We appreciate the business and will always work hard to make the best product possible
I'm receiving more feedback from owners every day, and even heard from a Cheyenne owner this week.
I had spent countless hours researching a new high end smoker. I had decided on a Loaded Wichita and was awaiting the dealer to send me the quote so I could purchase the smoker. During that short wait period, I stumbled upon your posts and was amazed by what you found. The whole reason I was spending upwards of two grand for this pit was the fact Yoder had a great reputation and several issues related to COS are not factors with the high end, 1/4" pits. Your research and the subsequent testimonials from other owners experiencing the same issue with the fire box and heat management caused me to reevaluate the Wichita and eventually turned me away from it all together. I ended up paying a little more and ordering a 24x36 offset from Lone Star Grillz and can't wait to get it. Thanks for your thorough and clear evaluation of the Wichita. Your ingenuity is impressive. Hopefully Yoder will correct the issues in the near future.
I have the Yoder Cheyenne which is smaller than the Wichita. I have the same exact problems as noted here. I've had the Cheyenne for a few years now. In the beginning I thought my fire management was the issue. Over time I learned it was not. I have to leave the firebox door wide open in order to maintain a hot clean fire. If I close the door the fire immediately dies out and I'm left with a smoldering stick. Frustrating isn't the word to describe cooking on this thing. If the wind is over 5mph forget it. Wind goes straight down the stack, into the cook chamber, and out the firebox. I will be selling this pit late spring because I ordered a Shirley and have a tentative build date of June.
Correction: in the previous post the feedback on the Wichita was from a "potential" Wichita owner who decided against his purchase.
I was watching a Q&A video by T-Roy Cooks today and he talked about his 2014 Loaded Wichita smoker again. Here's what he had to say in defense of the design:
"I've found if I close the door even with that intake vent wide open, if that door is totally closed, I do get some billowing smoke from time to time. I just leave my door just a crack open, about an inch or so ... it's not a design flaw in my mind."
I'd argue that this video isn't a universal tutorial for maintaining a fire on an offset smoker. The title should really be, "How to start and maintain a fire on a Yoder Wichita."
That video just confirms the need work around the shortcomings of the Wichita's peculiar design:
1. Huge coal bed. Check.
2. Pre-heat the wood. Check
3. Leave the door ajar. Check.
4. Hope for some wind at the firebox end. Check
I don't have to do any of that and I don't spend any time at all fiddling with dampers or doors anymore. Here's the lighting sequence on my last cook:
1. Turn on the log lighter with a low flame for about 10 minutes to get the fire started.
2. Turn off the log lighter and remove, then close the lid. Done.
3. Add a log every 45 minutes or so.
Here's my fire after about 10 minutes just before I turned off the gas and removed the log lighter. There aren't any coals in here.
Here's the view of the fire after I closed the lid. This fire burns all by itself without any coals. Eventually it will burn down to a small coal bed that has enough heat to ignite a cold log almost immediately with no smoldering. The debris on the firebox floor is the wad of newspaper I used to ignite the log lighter. Do you see any smoke here? It's burning clean.
Here's the smoke after I closed the firebox for the first time. It's not billowing white smoke, and it has excellent pressure because the firebox end contains the heat buildup enough to create this pressure. This doesn't happen when the firebox door is ajar. Notice the gauge is only around 100 degress F at this point - just getting warmed up.
I normally use a Maverick 732 just to monitor the cooker temp while I'm in the house doing other things, and it lets me know when it's time to add another log. It is so much easier than it used to be I am now free to focus on other things when I'm smoking - which is usually every weekend. I have some brisket and chicken ready for tomorrow, and a tri-tip for Sunday night. I can hardly wait.
There are many different ideas on cooker design, procedures on cooking and how to build and maintain a fire. You are free to choose or create your own methods, and also accept the differing performance achieved. The Yoder cookers are designed from years and years of testing and cooking experience, and the posted video illustrates the proper methods that coincide with the design and years of experience in cooking and fire management. The cooker design and methods outlined in the video will provide a Yoder Smokers owner with years of exceptional cooking experiences, without the need to change anything or overthink processes.
This thread is being closed.