I've never tried bacon, but after reading a bunch of forms I'm dying to do it. I bought a pork belly, about 4 lbs, that I still need to trim. I've frozen it for now because I have one important question (well, maybe not that important). How necessary is it to use something with sodium nitrate? Can I get away with just using kosher salt and sugar? I understand the safety concern on a cold smoke but I've got an offset smoker. Can I do it low enough that I'm not going to melt all the fat but still not worry about having it on there so long that there's a health concern? I'm from Toronto, I've looked at a few stores and I haven't been able to find the Tenderquick. I saw I can order it online but it's $5 to buy and $20 for shipping so that just doesn't make sense to me.
I saw in some of the older posts, those who do it without. The newer posts however seem to all use some form of nitrate additive. Is this a result of better wisdom over time?