Want to make sure that I don't do something seriously stupid :)
Anyways, have read lots of threads about various ways to do bacon and considered myself to be "schooled" enough on the subject to give it a shot. So, went to a small butcher shop in a nearby small town and picked up a 10# belly. While there, I found out that they use a curing brine on their bacon and they would happily sell me some of their brining mix. I said "Great" and they brought out a bag of mix that is kind of almond colored and told me specifically to mix it with 2 gallons of water and that it was enough for the belly that I was buying.
Here's a photo of the curing brine mix.
With a 10# belly, I figured there was enough for me to experiment and figured that I'd go ahead and try Pop's brine also as well as grabbing some TenderQuick as favored by Bear.
For Pop's Brine, I looked high and low locally for #1 Cure and eventually found a restaurant supply company that sold "Culinary Master's Curing Salt Sel Rose".
There's nothing on the bag itself that specifies "Cure #1", but on the local supply company's product list, this is listed as "Salt - Curing #1, Sel Rose 1lb Box". Additionally, I questioned the people at the will call window and they told me that this is what their clients use for curing bacon.
Figured that I'd make up all three cures, divide the belly into six pieces and use each cure on 2 of the pieces.
For smoking, the plan was to cold smoke in my Smoke Hollow 44 using only an AMTS with Apple and Hickory as the source of heat/smoke.
Right up until about a 1/2 ago, I was sure and confident in my plans. Make brines/cures, put belly in for 9 days or so, take out and rest in fridge for a day, then cold smoke for about 12 hours.
Now, I'm not so sure. Is the "Curing Salt Sel Rose" the right stuff (i.e. Cure #1) ? Is it safe to "cold smoke" the belly using the Butchershop's curing brine (since it isn't pink ?) Am I taking "cold smoking" too literally ? Is 12 hours too long a time or too short ?
Also, since there aren't enough variables at this point, since each cured batch will have 2 hunks of belly, I had figured that I'd coat one from each batch with maple syrup/extract just for comparison. End result would be 6 variations of Hickory/Apple smoked bacon.
Anyways, would appreciate any input before I do something really stupid.