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**Pellet cookers** - YS480, YS640
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May 9th, 2019, 3:50 pm
#1
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I was told that the freezer was running on empty for smoked chicken, so I decided to take a break from testing the ACS controller to cook 4 chickens. In reality, I was still testing but with a happy ending.

I cleaned the ash from the burn grate, cleaned the diffuser and started the cooker at the default 350 degrees. I will not need to clean the cooking grates for this cook, as all of the testing that I have been doing have left the grates ready to go. I put in 2 foldable cookie cooling racks in on the lower cooking grates to elevate the grate with the chickens above the lower grates. The upper grate was removed and stored in the YS1500. BTW, an awesome reason to have 2 Yoder Smokers cookers, is to be able to store things from the other cooker. My YS1500 stores my grill grates, griddle and upper shelf for the YS640 when I'm not using the YS1500, and when I am using the YS1500, it all goes back into the YS640. When I use both cookers at the same time, I improvise and adapt.

While the cooker was starting up, we prepped 4 chickens by spatchcocking and removing the ribcage bones. Then seasoned the 4 birds, placed them on a full pan cooking rack, and put the rack into the YS640 on top of the cooling racks. Doing this puts the bottom of the rack with the chickens about 2" above the lower racks in the cooker. Doing this makes the insertion and removal of the cooking rack with the chickens much easier. I would normally cook chickens at 325 degrees when placing them directly on the lower racks, but because I had them elevated, I left the cooking temperature at 350 degrees to compensate for the approximate 2" air gap between the lower YS640 grate and the chickens.

I stuck an ACS Fireboard temperature probe into 2 of the chickens to monitor temperatures at both ends of the cooker, as shown in the picture below.

prepped chicken.jpg

When the probes alerted at the temperature I had set (they alerted within about 2 minutes of each other), which was 165, I opened the cooker to check all of the legs/thighs and breasts of the chickens with an instant read thermometer, to see how they were progressing. Everything was looking great, and temperatures were all within a handful of degrees of each other between all of the chickens. Because the breast is more susceptible to drying out, I moved the 2 ACS Fireboard probes from the legs to the breasts of the 2 monitored chickens, and closed the cooker up to finish the job.

Again, both of the probes alerted within just a few minutes of each other, so I again opened the cooker and used an instant read thermometer to check all of the chickens for doneness. I rarely worry about anything but the breast meat, as the rest of the chicken always comes out right, when the breast temperature is right, especially when chickens cooking this way. I look for 158 to 160 degrees in the thickest part of the breast, and after probing the chickens, they were all 4 within approximately 2 degrees of each other, so I removed the cooking grate and 4 chickens from the cooker and shut the cook off. With a short resting period, the internal temperature of the chickens all rose up to about 165.

cooked chicken.jpg

So we vacuumed sealed 3 of the chickens to feed the freezer. The 4th chicken was confiscated and put into protective custody by my wife. When I brought up the fact that she had requested 4 chickens to be cooked for the freezer, I was gently reminded about how much I like life.

All in all, a very good cook and an amazing result. The new ACS controller handled it all with ease, and performed to my expectations.

Yoder_Herb
January 18th, 2020, 3:45 pm
#2
* Abilene ** Abilene *
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from an almost a 640s owner
Understand your process. Question why cook at 325-350 rather then smoke at a lower temp (like 225-250) I was guessing that your smoke taste would be less at 350.

Very interesting on how evenly the chicken cooks

Not sure that my current pellet grill is that close.

thanks for your incite

January 18th, 2020, 3:58 pm
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pizza2786 wrote:from an almost a 640s owner
Understand your process. Question why cook at 325-350 rather then smoke at a lower temp (like 225-250) I was guessing that your smoke taste would be less at 350.

Very interesting on how evenly the chicken cooks

Not sure that my current pellet grill is that close.

thanks for your incite


Poultry has no connective tissue that needs to be slowly broken down, plus the skin will turn rubbery if the fat is not rendered from it. So always cook poultry at high temperatures.

No lack of smoke with the Yoder at any temperature.

Yoder_Herb
January 18th, 2020, 8:22 pm
#4
* Abilene ** Abilene *
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Yoder_Herb wrote:
pizza2786 wrote:from an almost a 640s owner
Understand your process. Question why cook at 325-350 rather then smoke at a lower temp (like 225-250) I was guessing that your smoke taste would be less at 350.

Very interesting on how evenly the chicken cooks

Not sure that my current pellet grill is that close.

thanks for your incite


Poultry has no connective tissue that needs to be slowly broken down, plus the skin will turn rubbery if the fat is not rendered from it. So always cook poultry at high temperatures.

No lack of smoke with the Yoder at any temperature.


thanks for your explanation I can't wait til i get tge 640s ordered and received

March 8th, 2020, 11:07 am
#5
* Abilene ** Abilene *
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how did you set up the damper for this cook? my biggest issue is using this.

March 9th, 2020, 11:19 am
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The damper on mine is pulled all the way to the right, or fully open, it never moves from fully open.

Yoder_Herb
June 8th, 2020, 9:06 am
#7
* Abilene ** Abilene *
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Yoder_Herb wrote:The damper on mine is pulled all the way to the right, or fully open, it never moves from fully open.


When you talk about the damper is that the plate that covers the firebox? I just got a 1500 and am curious how to use this. Should I leave it open? I figured it would get too hot on the left side if I did so.

June 11th, 2020, 12:26 pm
#8
* Abilene ** Abilene *
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June 12th, 2020, 10:10 am
#9
* Abilene ** Abilene *
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There are a few of us around here.....Unfortunately, I hear the Yoder facebook page is more active. I don't have an account so I can't speak to that.
I don't have a 1500 (I have a 640) but can answer a little bit of your question.

The 1500 has the damper coming out the front and allows you to pull it out to expose the firebox. If you are smoking and want even temps throughout the pit, leave it totally closed. If you want to grill/sear something pull it all the way out and allow the fire to touch the grill grates.

I suppose you could do a little of both because the smoker is so big. Might be nice if you are smoking chicken and a pork butt. Smoke it all with the damper closed and then open up for the chicken to crisp up some skin......man I should have went with a 1500 . :D

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