Originally Posted by Mdboatbum
Started last night with 2 12oz salmon filets. Dry brined maybe 18-20 hours in a simple salt/sugar rub with pepper added. Let dry in front of a fan until a pellicle formed, then smoked at 200˚ until the IT hot 150˚.
Turned out pretty well. Next time I'll try pink salt and do a post brine soak to make it a little less salty.
I dry brine all my salmon (flesh side down on plastic wrap, and sealed). Depending on the salt factor folks prefer (and the fillet thickness) my cure times range from 6 hours to 15 hours. Then I rinse and let it sit overnight in the fridge to equalize. After smoking I refrigerate again for 12 hours before eating or giving away. This makes slicing easier and softens the surface slightly.
Saltiness could be as simple as your ratio, try 2 parts sugar to one part salt, plus seasonings. I don't recommend pink salt if your pit temps are 190°-200°. Saltiness can also be from not rinsing enough, even a rinse then 15 minutes in a bucket of water will make a difference. Lastly, a long rest allows the salt, (which is in a higher concentration near the surface) to equalize within the flesh. The equalization is an important step because once your tongue tastes salt, it convinces your brain that all of the fillet is too salty. Another thing I do following smoking is to give my fillets a very light shine coat with olive oil.
I think your pit temps are good, and the 150° internal is what I use for myself as I like a moist product. Folks that like theirs a little drier, I'll take to 170°. Here is a fillet smoked to 150°.
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