I need a little advice from the more knowledgeable on the subject.
I just pulled my pork belly out of Pop's wet curing brine this morning. It has been in the curing brine for 21 days. I know this is a long time, but I had to work the last 11 days straight and had no choice. When I pulled it out this morning, there are several spots on it, where it made contact with the plastic lug it was in, and where the weighted pan was on top of it, that are a much different color than the rest of the belly. I have done lots of Canadian Bacon and always notice where the loin contacts the bucket, or touches another piece, there is a major color difference. I add a good bit of cane syrup to the brine, so it takes on a really dark brown color. I understand there will be a little color difference where the meat has contact with something while it cures, but I just want to make sure it is safe. here are the pics.
The "top" of the pork belly in the picture was actually on the bottom while it was in the brine. I didnt cut the riblets off until I pulled it out this morning. you can see how red it looks where it was making contact with the bottom of the lug and where the riblet on the end was folded over and it looks like no brine got to it. I just want to make sure it is safe to cold smoke tomorrow. All advice is welcome. Thanks.