Yoder 24×48 Charcoal Grill Competition Cart Review
During 2022, Yoder Smokers sent me their 24 x 28 Flat Top Competition Charcoal Grill to put to the test. Previously, I reviewed their YS640s Competition Cart Pellet Grill which I loved. So over the past 8 months I’ve had the chance to put the Yoder charcoal grill through its paces. While charcoal grills may…
During 2022, Yoder Smokers sent me their 24 x 28 Flat Top Competition Charcoal Grill to put to the test. Previously, I reviewed their YS640s Competition Cart Pellet Grill which I loved. So over the past 8 months I’ve had the chance to put the Yoder charcoal grill through its paces.
While charcoal grills may not be as feature-packed and technology-forward as a pellet grill, Yoder has made sure this grill can do it all. I’ll be going over all the features and what you can do with this using both direct and indirect heat.
If you’ve read my review of the pellet grill or know anything about Yoder in general, you know that this company is serious about putting out high-quality grills made to last. This is a company that cares about everything on these grills from the materials used to the feature list to the tires on the competition carts. If you’re a serious backyard grill and smoking enthusiast or contemplating getting into the competition scene, these grills are worth heavy consideration even at a higher price point than less expensive competitors.
Before you buy that new Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe charcoal grill, educate yourself on this offering from Yoder. You might be glad you did.
|Yoder 24x36 Charcoal Grill
|Yoder 24x48 Charcoal Grill
Yoder Smokers Explained
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering where exactly your grill or smoker is made and whether it’s made from quality materials, you don’t have to worry about that with anything made by Yoder Smokers. The company is based out of Hutchinson, Kansas and the grills are all made in the United States. Whether it’s a charcoal grill, a pellet grill, offset smoker, competition-level grill, or even a custom-built model, Yoder is committed to giving everyone the highest-quality grill regardless of what you are going for.
Yoder 24 x 48 Competition Charcoal Grill Overview & Specifications
Yoder has two competition-level charcoal grills, the 24 x 36 and the 24 x 48 that I was sent for review. The 24 x 48 provides a 1,152 square inch cooking surface using two 22.6” x 23.8” cooking grates. Whether you want to smoke a brisket over charcoal or grill a large number of chickens at the same time, the 24 x 48 charcoal grill can accommodate everything you want to put on it.
|1,152 sq in
|50.9” H x 37.7” D (including front shelf) x 65” L
|Cooking Chamber Construction
|10-gauge (1/8th”) steel
|2: 22.6” x 23.8”
|Black; Competition cart comes in orange, black, and silver.
|Front stainless steel shelf
Competition Cart Charcoal Grill Materials and Construction
All it takes is one look at Yoder’s charcoal grill to realize that this is not a standard store-bought charcoal grill. The main cook box of this grill is made from 10-gauge 1/8” steel which provides both longevity and heat retention. This is not a grill that will rust through in one year like small grills you could pick up at a dime a dozen at big box stores.
The lid is made of 12-gauge steel, slightly thinner than the cookbox but plenty thick to help lock in the heat and smoke during the grilling process. The slightly thinner metal does make it a bit easier to open because the last thing you want to do is tire yourself out simply opening and closing the lid while flipping burgers or chickens. The lid is segmented so you can open the smaller front portion to help keep heat in or open the entire lid for when you’re smoking a large cut of meat or grilling a lot at once. The lid swings open and closed on heavy-duty stainless steel hinges that will ensure smooth operation for years to come.
The hinges aren’t the only part of the grill that are stainless steel, either. The grill has a stainless steel front shelf that runs almost the entire length of the grill and is about 10 inches deep. It’s perfect for a prep station or holding trays for food going on or coming off and can stand up to condiments and liquids accidentally spilling.
The charcoal basket is the most heavy-duty part of the grill and for good reason. With over 1100 square inches of cooking space, you need to be able to burn a large amount of charcoal for direct grilling. So to provide longevity, Yoder made the basket out of 7-gauge steel that is 3/16” thick.
This is absolutely a tank of a charcoal grill. It weighs in at 441 pounds and is built to stand the test of time and competition grilling.
Competition Charcoal Grill Design
This grill is a distinctive one. It doesn’t look like most charcoal grills on the market that tend to follow either a barrel-style or kettle-style construction. It’s a big box that looks more like a large covered version of a park grill or one used for cooking chickens at a fundraiser. You know the ones I’m talking about.
However, even though this is a charcoal grill, it still has well-designed features that elevate its performance and add versatility.
Variable Level Charcoal Basket
As stated above, this is a heavy-duty charcoal basket. However, the design goes beyond that as Yoder wanted to make sure that users could adjust how close the charcoal fire is to the cooking surface. This grill has five levels for the charcoal basket selected with a lever arm on the right side of the grill that locks in to keep the fire where you want it. If you’re looking to smoke briskets or pork butts over charcoal and wood, you can lower the basket to the furthest distance from the grates to help create more of an indirect, low heat.
If you’re looking to get a good char and a quick cook on steaks, burgers, or hot dogs, you can lever the basket up to the highest setting, ensuring you get plenty of heat.
Three Variable Vents
To further help control temperatures, Yoder built three vents into the grill. There are two on the front of the grill to help increase (or decrease) air flow to the charcoal basket. On the back portion of the lid, there is a traditional exhaust stack to help with temperature control as well. The three vents work together to help you with low-and-slow temperatures or high heat searing.
I recommend keeping the top vent 80% closed and use your bottom vents to adjust temperatures.
One complaint I have is when you fully open the top lid/door, your top exhaust vent will open wide up due to gravity. Make sure you put the vent position back in place after you close the lid.
Built-In Probe Port
Speaking of smoking low-and-slow, Yoder wanted to make temperature monitoring as easy as possible. If you’ve got a temperature-monitoring unit like the ThermoWorks Signals or Smoke X4 that uses wired probes, you might be concerned with a heavier lid pinching wires and possibly damaging them.
So Yoder built in a probe port with a swiveling door to run those wired probes into the cooking chamber. That means you can monitor that internal temperature without worrying about a wire getting crushed. This charcoal grill is a perfect unit to utilize a fan controller system like the Billows from ThermoWorks. Just sent the temp you want for the grill, and the fan controller will make sure it stays stable.
The grill rides on Yoder’s distinctive competition cart. The default is a bright orange, but you can choose black or silver as well by calling Yoder directly. It rides on eight-inch rubber pneumatic wheels mounted to casters for moving this 441-pound steel behemoth of a charcoal grill. The cart can be tied down using the built-in hardware as anchor points once you’ve got it where you want it.
This is worth the upgrade charge in my opinion. A grill of this size/weight is not so easy to move. The large wheels make it easy to move around and strong anchor points / tiedowns are very handy when hauling it in a trailer. It also looks great and your friends will be jealous that you went the extra mile with the competition cart.
Removable Grease And Ash Tray
Cleanup is one of the least-enjoyed parts of grilling and smoking. Ash and grease can get everywhere, affecting performance and even causing potential fire hazards. Yoder made a slide-out grease and ash tray that sits under the charcoal basket for easy clean-up.
One comment is I would like to make is the grating over the charcoal bed vents make it a little tricky to cleanout the ash into the ash tray. I recommend cleaning this regularly by simply sliding the grating back and forth to let the ash fall through the vent holes. If you let this build up and let grease drip onto the ash for numerous cooks, it will be more challenging keeping this clean and keeping the vent holes free and clear.
Yoder Competition Charcoal Grill Smoking Overview
The design Yoder took with this grill really catered to low and slow cooks and gave you the ability to create two-zone cooking.
Two-Zone Cooking Capabilities
First off you begin with two separate grill grates. You can simply leave one grill grate out so that you have easy access to the charcoal at all times. The other grill grate is large enough to handle large cuts like whole turkeys or briskets. Leaving the grate off the one side by the charcoal bed makes it easy to throw some wood chunks onto the coals when needed.
I just place my charcoal on the right side and then leave meat on the left grill grate. Yoder also provides two intake vents at the bottom of the grill. Keep the left vent closed where the meat is, and then open your right vent where the coals are. This again aids in a perfect two-zone cooking environment.
The adjustable charcoal bed also makes the grill very versatile for smoking. Drop the bed to the lowest setting to make sure your charcoal is not too close to the meat. What a great design to give you that capability. No one else is doing this today that I’m aware of.
I do wish the exhaust vent was placed on a side of the grill, instead of the center. This would create a more proper heat path in the grill, similar to an offset smoker. We want that heat from the charcoal moving over/around the food. With the center stack, we will not see the heat move completely around the meat. Something Yoder could take into consideration for future designs.
I would also recommend a placement for a Tel-Tru thermometer somewhere. If you want to know cook temps, you have to use a digital ambient temperature probe like a ThermoWorks Signals, Meater Block or Inkbird Smart Thermometer. It’s not the end of the world, but I like a good old analog gauge to give me an idea what’s happening with temps instead of getting the digital tech out all the time.
Overall Smoking Capabilities
The grill is still very capable of smoking and cooking at low temps. If you plan on doing a long cook, this grill is perfect when partnered with a digitally controlled fan blower system like the ThermoWorks Billows of Fireboard 2 Drive. Since this grill does not come with any temperature gauge, you’ll be pulling out a digital temperature probe system anyways. Take it a step further and install the fan controller module. Now you can set your temp and trust it will be held within a couple degrees of your setting.
Overall I really like the design for smoking, but it takes a bit more work to make it happen. The size of the unit allows for massive amounts of meat on the grates and the adjustable charcoal bed height make this a unique option in the world of charcoal grills/smokers. Kamado grills are usually round in design which isn’t always the best option for large cuts like brisket. This square design is much more accommodating to briskets, and ribs.
One other item I want to point out is charcoal consumption. This grill will chew through charcoal faster than Kettles or Kamados. It is a very large grill and because of the size it can act like a heatsink, so be prepared to use more charcoal. Also, when you want to end your cook by closing all the vents, you’ll notice the grill will not cool down quickly. Your charcoal will not extinguish until it is completely burnt out. Any charcoal you light will be dedicated to that one cook.
|Yoder 24x36 Charcoal Grill
|Yoder 24x48 Charcoal Grill
Yoder Competition Charcoal Grill Grilling Overview
Grilling is where this grill shines more than smoking. The shear size of the grill allows you to cook for a very large group. How many charcoal grills offer over 1,100 square inches of grilling space in a rectangular design? To put this in perspective, a XL Big Green Egg offers 452 square inches. The Yoder provides almost 3 x the grilling space of a XL BGE.
This is where the adjustable charcoal bed comes in once again. You want to sear some steaks or grill those burgers quickly? Raise the charcoal bed to the highest setting and you get those coals very close to your proteins. Too much heat? Drop the charcoal bed a setting or two. You really have amazing control of your grilling temps with this design. This has to be the most versatile charcoal grill on the market because of the adjustable charcoal bed design.
Grilling is where the 24×48 is at home. This will be my go to large event grill for the summer. Theoretically you could get over 40 burgers on this grill at one time. How many charcoal grills have that capability?
The Yoder can get to very high searing temperatures especially if you use a good quality lump charcoal and raise the charcoal bed to the highest setting. Check out these cowboy steaks on the Yoder. They were amazing.
This is a competition/catering type of charcoal grill that can please the masses and offer charcoal flavored food when most high output caterers are using gas grills. If you’re serious about charcoal and cook for large groups, this is a great option, especially for how portable it is with the competition cart.
Yoder Optional Accessories
Yoder offers a couple of accessories for the competition charcoal grill. I’ll give you some impressions and whether it’s essential or simply nice to have.
Fitted All-Weather Cover
Regardless if you live in a part of the world that sees extreme cold and related weather, rain, or burning sun, you want to protect your investment. The cover is a necessity no matter where you live. It’s water-resistant to help keep rain and melting snow out of the grill while also standing up to inadvertent contact and general dirt and grime. Even if you have a dedicated covered storage area, there’s always the potential for something running into your grill or getting spilled, so protect it.
Charcoal Grill Griddle
The outdoor griddle craze is real. Yoder recognized that fact and released an accessory for the charcoal grill to address it. You can remove one of the included grill grates and put this stainless steel griddle in its place. So that means you can cook every single meal over charcoal. It’s made from 10-gauge 9/64” stainless steel to help distribute heat evenly over the cooking surface. It has a grease tray on the front with a single hole for draining it into a bowl or pan. If you’ve ever wanted to cook eggs or pancakes on your charcoal grill and wanted more space than a cast-iron skillet, this is right up your alley.
Heavy Duty Cooking Grate
If you plan to use this as a grill and you’re going to be doing high heat on steaks, burgers, pork chops etc. It’s worth getting the heavy duty cooking grate. I have it, and this is a must have accessory with the grill.
As with my past Yoder grills, ownership has been problem free. Delivery is seamless with Yoder purchases. Depending on the gear you are purchasing, they are mainly fully assembled and packaged heavily on a pallet. Simply cut off all packaging material, roll off the pallet and start getting yourself acquainted with the manual.
Quality has always been superb and I have yet to go through any warranty claims or customer service help if the cooker is not working properly. Charcoal grills are simple devices so there is little to go wrong.
This grill is built to last, and so is the warranty. The cook box comes with a 10-year warranty, protecting a serious investment.
Yoder 24 x 48 Competition Cart Charcoal Grill Review Wrap Up
After using the grill for the past 8-9 months, what do I think?
Would I Recommend?
As with most Yoder grills and smokers, I would recommend. If you’ve read this far, you are serious about charcoal based cooking. The price point can be considered expensive when you compare it to a Weber Kettle, but when you compare it to a Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe, the price point is in line. If you have a budget for a Kamado style grill, the price point of this will not scare you away.
Again, I feel this grill is at home for grilling, but is also capable for low and slow two-zone cooking. I find (because I can be lazy), I’m mainly using it as a charcoal grill instead of a smoker. The adjustable charcoal bed makes it a dream for grilling and aids in low temp cooks.
What We Like…
- Adjustable charcoal bed (slow to sear in a second)
- Large Grill Area. Over 1,100 square inches in a rectangular footprint, allows you to use almost every square inch of grill space.
- Very Portable. Competition cart with pneumatic tires makes it a breeze to load on trailers. Tie downs are heavy duty and conveniently located.
What Makes Us Angry…
- Price point isn’t for your average joe. Only the serious BBQ aficionados will consider a grill of this stature.
- Exhaust vent needs to be reset after fully opening the lid.
- No analog temp gauge.
Another win for Yoder and I have to commend them for taking a different approach with their charcoal grill. They could have taken the easy way out and made a Yoder version of a Kettle or PK Grill, but they put some thought into this and came up with some ideas that the competition never thought about.
I don’t think this grill gets the attention it deserves. Everyone thinks of Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe when looking at high end charcoal grills. People should give this consideration when they have $3k to spend on a charcoal grill. You’ll have more versatility without having to buy every accessory under the sun from BGE or KJ.
Do you agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments.
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