I picked up a couple of 4lb bellies from the local Compare Foods (the only place in my area that carries bellies) and set them to cure about a week ago. I used the Sausagemaker pre-mixed Country Ham & Bacon Cure. I didn't realize it contained the cure when I ordered it, just thought it was a seasoning rub. I ended up cutting the bellies into halves after I had to remove the rind and a few rib bones that were included and setting them up in their own bags to cure, making sure to get any and all air out of the bags before sealing. The bellies range in thickness from 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches.
Now here's my concern. Some of the outer meat is a really dark grey--please someone tell me it's normal, please? There's no smell to speak of and when I took off an outer slice for a fry test, the meat was pinkish inside. From my own personal experience a few weeks ago, I had bought a rack of ribs to smoke and after 2 days in the fridge, I took them out and I could smell something off. And it was really bad when I made a small tear in the cellophane. There was a small dark spot about the size of a dime that was the culprit. But these bellies don't have any type of odor whatsoever. I fried up a couple of pieces the first time around and they were a little too salty, but fine. I soaked them for an hour and the next fry test was perfect. My plan was to cold smoke them tomorrow night.