We bought a bag (5 lbs) of Morton's "Sugar Cure" Game Curing Salt
. Apparently Morton makes several 'flavors' of curing salts..we saw several others on line when searching for the basic recipes.
So we started with several large chunks of Missouri Hog Belly, ranging from 2-3 lbs to 12 lbs in size.
We washed and pat-dried the pieces selected for each batch ( we made three seperate batches)
Then with the clean/dry pork belly sitting there,
We mixed a blend of the Morton's Sugar Cure Salt
with Brown Sugar...at a ratio (suggested by Mortons
) of TWO cups of Salt-cure to ONE cup of Brown Sugar. After mixing that, we did the typical 'rub', like I would for BBQ, on the meat. When that was finished, we stuffed the chunks of meat into zip-loc bags and returned them to the refrigerator for 5 days of "curing".
We turned the meat once a day, and drained off the liquid as ordered by Morton's instructions.
At the end of the five days, I heated up my electric smoker, using hickory and applewood chips for smoke and put the meat in for about 6 hours at 190-195 degrees.
Cooled it down then sliced and packaged Batch One.
Batch ONE was a bit salty for our tastes. it will be fine for cooking in Beans and soups, but eating 'plain' would probably not be part of our choice.
So with Batch TWO we altered the ratio of Salt to Sugar...using ONE cup of the Morton Salt Cure to TWO cups of DARK Brown Sugar.
Same timing in the cure...but we shortened the smoking time to 4 hours The results can be seen in the pile of slabs labeled Batch 2 above.
Today we sliced and packaged the final batch. Using the ONE cup of salt-cure to TWO cups of brown sugar in the cure-rub, Five days in the cure-cooler, and then to add a touch of individuality, on two of these pieces we sprinkled Maple Sugar Crystals on the cured bacon before it went into the smoker. We don't think that did much of anything to the meat in the final evaluation.
What you see here is the final batch, sliced and ready for freezing. Lot of time involved, but in stages and not all that much labor.