I'm normally a BBB guy because the only bellies I ever find are frozen, have the rind on and seem to come from anorexic pigs. While visiting the in-laws in the midwest I came across a store that sold bellies. They were just as anorexic as the California bellies but they were fresh, $1 cheaper per lb and the meat cutter was more than happy to cut the rind off and resell it as cracklins.
Got the belly home and broke out the bacon makin stuff.
Cut the belly in two.
Used 1 tbsp of Morton's Sugar Cure per lb and the added some brown sugar. Cured for 9 days and it was time for a soak and rinse.
Next was a fry test. I usually skip the fry test since I feel that I have sugar cure down to a science but I was craving a taste so I did one.
Rubbed the bellies with a light coat of maple syrup then placed under a fan to get the pellicle forming.
Filled the AMNPS with 1/4 apple and 3/4 pecan. Lit both ends, waited 10 minutes and into the MES it went.
I used ice to help keep temps down. Temps climb a little higher with both ends lit but I averaged 77 degrees for the majority of the smoke. Smoked for somewhere between 10-12 hours(not sure exactly since I went to bed and it was done when I got up) and I got some nice color.
Let em rest in the fridge for a day then into the freezer a few hours to firm up for slicing.
Cross section of each. These guys actually look more like BBB than belly to me. I wanted more fat. Damn anorexic pigs!
But it tastes like smoky good belly bacon. Got about 5 1/2 lb out of it.Time to start curing some more BBB since this won't last.
Thanks for looking.