Basic Bacon Cure
1. One 10lb slab of pork belly, rind removed
2. 2 teaspoons pink salt (Prague Powder)
3. 1/3rd cup salt
4. Generous cup of sugar - any of the following...maple sugar, honey or brown sugar.
5. Any desired spices should be mixed with the salt mixture
Mix the salt and pink salt together well. Rub the salt mixture into, and all over, the meat (all sides). Next slather/rub the sugar (honey, maple syrup or brown sugar…whatever sugar you’re using) into the meat as well. Put in a zip-lock bag (or large tray) and set in the fridge for a week, turning/agitating once a day!
After a week you can remove it from the bag and rinse off the excess salt
You can now dry it off with paper towels, cook it and eat it like this, or you can smoke it right away, or let it sit on a cooling rack atop a baking sheet in the refrigerator overnight, to form a pellicle. A pellicle is a thin, sticky, skin or film that develops on the exterior of the pork belly…this skin will better “grab” the flavors from the smoke you’ll apply. If you choose to let it sit on a rack and dry, it will be a good time to add any additional flavoring you want on the finished bacon, such as black pepper, maple sugar, etc, etc.
When it's time to smoke I've seen people recommend bringing the smoker temp up to 150, 175 or 200. If you can't keep your smoker under 225f I wouldn't worry about it. Just take the belly out once the internal temperature has reached 140f. To load the smoker with fuel in my BackWood smoker I just put two pieces of lump, light it with a torch and then placed two pieces of apple wood on top of the lump. I usually smoke my bacon at 150-180f. Cold smoking is another option that can also be combined with resting the meat in a maturing room…we could address this other method of smoking at a later time.
Next, let the bacon cool down before slicing, fry up and enjoy