The calculator is a small Excel spreadsheet that will provide the amounts of salt and Cure 1 required to dry cure the lb weight of pork belly you enter. There are different calculators for rind on or rind off bellies and 3% or 4% final salt concentration
For 200 ppm initial Sodium Nitrite concentration
Dry cured bacon calculator final.xls 23k .xls file
BASIC DRY CURE PROCEDURE USING CURE 1 (Instacure 1, Prague Powder 1, Pink Salt)
any cure with 93.75% salt and 6.25% Sodium Nitrite by weight
First thing you want to do is make a cure mix using the amounts of Cure 1 and salt described in the calculator for the lb weight of bellies you wish to cure. Remember there are different amounts of Cure 1 required for rind on or rind off bacon because the rind does not absorb cure very well. You will use less Cure 1 in your mix if you leave the rind on the bacon
The calculators use weight to measure the Cure 1 and salt. Combine the ingredients and mix well. A large canning jar with tight fitting lid works well. Shake the ingredients until the pink color of the Cure 1 is evenly distributed throughout the cure mix.
Rub about 1/3 of the mix evenly/predominantly on the meat side(s) of the bellies. Wrap in plastic wrap and lay flat in a carboy tray or other plastic tray with the rind side down and refrigerate. Wait 3 or 4 days to do the next rub with the 2nd third of the cure mix. Don't dry the bacon at this point but if you lose a bit of moisture that isn't a problem, you will draw small amounts of moisture from the bellies. Let the curing bacon sit another 3 to 4 days wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator. After this second curing period add the balance of the cure mix. You may also add any extra salt, sugar and spices at this stage. 3 days later rinse the bacon with fresh water and pat dry with a clean towel.
At this point you may want to do a taste test for salt by frying a small piece. If too salty, soak in fresh water for an hour and taste again. You can repeat the process until the salt in the bacon is where you want it but this procedure seldom produces bacon most would consider too salty.
If you want a sweet bacon rub again with sugar, honey or syrup and return to the refrigerator or if the additional sugar is not added proceed to the next step to smoke your bacon Don’t rinse the bacon after the final spice, sugar coating.
Now you just need to determine when you have access to your slow smoker. I have left the bacon in the refrigerator mellowing out for up to 5 days after my final rub, you can keep to the 3-day minimum if you wish but by now the bacon is fully cured and ready for the smoker
Make sure the bacon is dry by hanging in front of a fan or in the smoker with a low heat but no smoke. There are Bacon Hangers commercially available or you can use stainless steel wire passed through the bacon and hung on wooden dowels. You want to develop a pellicle that will hold the smoke on the bacon The bacon will be dry but tacky to the touch when properly dried.
This step is also up to you. I have gone as little as 8 hours and as long as 36 hours in cold smoke. I suggest you smoke the bacon until you get the color you like; I like a mahogany color (deep reddish brown). Remember to keep your smoker below 100 degrees. Fat starts to render out at these temps and your finished bacon will be greasy. The cooler the better for cold smoke but your smoke chamber should remain above 35 degrees.
Store in the refrigerator for several weeks or vacuum pack and freeze. I find that allowing the cured and smoked bacon to rest several days helps develop the flavors.
There are too many different combinations of spices and sugars to provide one final recipe here. Salt,Sugar and Spices are not regulated by the USDA and the amounts you use are personal preference. The basic cure mix and sugar treatment described is a good first step to learn how to dry cure bacon with Cure 1.
The amount of Cure 1 recommended in the first calculator is for approximately 200 ppm initial Sodium Nitrite concentration. The minimum initial concentration of Sodium Nitrite should be above 120 ppm
If you have any questions PM me Alblancher