I plan on making my first bacon and I prefer to not use sodium nitrate. My plan is to cure the pork belly for 6-7 days in the refrigerator with kosher salt, maple sugar, and maple syrup. I plan on using 2 ounces of kosher salt, 1/4 cup maple sugar, and 1/4 cup maple syrup per 5lb of pork belly. Then I plan on letting it sit in refrigerator for 1-2 days and then on the smoker at ~175 degrees until meat reaches 150 degrees.
My biggest questions:
- Do I need to use sodium nitrates in the curing process? I am thinking I don't since I will be smoking to 150 degrees.
- Does my salt/sugar/syrup ratios look appropriate for a 7 day cure?
- Any other pointers would be great
Thanks for your feedback.