Originally Posted by ptarmigan
I smoked it up yesterday and it turned out a bit salty for my taste as well. I did a wet brine for half and a dry cure for the other half. My guess is I let them sit too long. I'll try it again but I will cut the salt down just a bit and cut the cure time in half. The dry cure is a simple 3:1 brown sugar/salt cure. Other than that the only issue I had was trying to regulate the temps. I bought a maverick wireless thermometer to help with that. The temps seemed to differ by about 20 deg between the built in and the maverick. I wanted to start in the 120 deg range and it spiked to 160 before settling at 140. I backed the unit to 100 which then showed 125 on the maverick. On a positive note the AMNPS worked great with the alder pellets I bought from Cabelas. A six hour smoke burned half the tray or so.
Burned half a tray in 6 hours? That's about right. It's great that your alder pellets kept going. The alder pellets I have just won't stay lit for cold smokes. For hot smokes they'll smolder until the entire tray is burnt out. No idea why. But I can tell you from the cheese I cold smoked that apple and alder pellets are a great combo.
Trust the Maverick over the Masterbuilt. Remember, though, with the MES it will spike way over your set point during the first one or two heating cycles. It should settle down after that. My limited understanding is that's the way the controller is designed to work. My MES is older than hours and I don't begin to see really consistent temps until about 2-3 hours into a smoke. Up to that point, and after I've opened the smoker door to foil meat or something, I still have to twiddle with the controller buttons to get the temp back to where I want it. What typically happens is that it goes to high so I set it lower. Then it goes too low so I have to tweak it a bit higher. But I'm always able to get it back to my set point where it stabilizes within 2 degrees more or less.
I used a commercial salt/sugar/hickory cure made by Morton Salt on the salmon. The cure was made for pork products but I thought I could make it work on the salmon. I'll dry a different dry brine next time. I'm not a big fan of wet brining anything.