I'm with Todd on the dry cure and adding a little water, I also use a liberal amount of steak seasoning on my cure, also a dusting of granulated garlic, fresh course ground Malibar/tellicherry pepper as well as some McCormicks Smokehouse Maple seasoning and then used my trusty Jacard, and stabbed the crap out of both sides after seasoning. Flipped them Saturday morning and re-Jacarded them. Bought 135 lbs of bellies tuesday 11/25 and cured that night. This will be in cure until 12/7.
Will be soaked for 1 hour, with a change of water during that time. Dried in the fridge overnight and then I get to try out my NEW A-Maze-N pellet smoker for the rest of the week as it will take me 5 solid days to cold smoke all of that bacon. Looking forward to the long smoke times I should get from the A-Maze-N pellet smoker. In the past, I'd have to add more chips or chunks to my offsett barrel every 2-3 hourse, so being able to load it up and smoke for 8-11 hours between fillings will be great !!!!
I will use a pecan hickory mix to start with. about 60% pecan, 40% hickory, then I will use more pecan, plus cherry and apple ( about 1/3 each ). Cherry gives nice color and mellower flavor. I will do a couple bellies where I do a hickory cherry mix which will have a really nice exterior color, but no one notices that once it gets sliced up.
I use Pops wet for Canadian bacon, and add either a bunch ( 3 tbs) of juniper berries or if my brother in law didn't drink all my Gin, then a few shots of Bombay sapphire. Pops is right, it is simply a base to start with. Try some smoked paprika, or the montreal steak, and or garlic to add more flavor.