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Yoder Smokers Builds Competition-Level Barbecue Equipment in Kansas

Before he started building competition-level smokers, Don Cary, president and owner of Yoder Smokers, worked in the construction-manufacturing business. He began simply building grills for family and friends, and eventually turned it into a whole other company dedicated to building American-made grills and smokers that will last a lifetime. Yoder Smokers’ products can be found all over the country, and as far away as Prague and Australia. With business booming, 59-year-old Cary sees nothing but growth and success for his company.

How did you start Yoder Smokers? We’re a manufacturer by trade. One of our other companies manufactures construction tools, equipment and more. My vice president, Joe Phillips, managed production and the custom shop for Oklahoma Joe’s Smokers Co. in the late ’90s. Then, there were smokers we built for family, friends and employees. Those were all offset wood smokers. We built our first grill in 2007 and began building for commercial sale in 2009.

What’s your best-selling grill? Probably our most well-known grill has become the YS640 Pellet Grill. That grill is the right size, the right price and the right ease of use. It just gives you fantastic flavor. What’s the most interesting custom-made grill you’ve done? One of the party pits that we built for NebraskaLand National Bank had keg storage, a huge fryer and just – it was an amazing grill.

Why is it important that Yoder Smokers is all American-made? We work in an industry where almost everything is imported. In our case, most people are importing expensive, lightweight, throw-away products. Also, [customers] are particularly interested in buying American, and it’s increasingly more difficult [to do so].

What’s your favorite thing to cook on your YS640? I’m gonna tell you my wife’s favorite since that’s easy. For her, it’s a Kansas City strip steak; it’s a strip-loin steak that she’ll do a reverse sear on. If I had to pick it would probably be smoked salmon on a cedar plank.

What’s your favorite part about building smokers? Easy – customer satisfaction. People love them. They buy them, they have good experiences with them. They cook in different ways with things that they’ve not cooked in the past, and have great success doing it.

Yoder Smokers,

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