I'm starting some pork bellies for the SE Louisiana Event we have in two weeks. The Hong Kong Market didn't have whole pork bellies so what I have to work with is well trimmed and under an inch thick but with a good amount of meat. In the past I have done whole bellies with a very thick layer of fat.
I am 14 days out and trying to decide if I should go ahead and start them to cure this afternoon and let them go for 13 days or still only cure them for 10 days and then let them spend 3 days in the fridge after curing and rinsing?
I will use a dry cure (cure 1, salt, maybe brown sugar) but have decide to use Steens Cane Syrup on some of the bellies. Steens is a dark, rich sugar cane syrup made in the heart of Cajun Country. Kind of like molasses without so much sulfur and a bit lighter but still thick and full of flavor. I was thinking of incorporating the Steens in the cure process instead of the sugar. I am also thinking that I should add a thin layer of the Steens to the cured bacon after the fresh water rinse. The intention is to allow the syrup to dry on the meat before going into the smoke house.
Is 13 days of cure time maybe too much for thin belly.
If I do only a 10 day cure I think the 3 day rest would only improve the flavor right or wrong?
Will the Steens after drying on the bacon and becoming sticky pickup up too much smoke or prevent the smoke from getting into the meat?
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