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We've been curing bacon for a while now; add curing salts to a pork-belly or two, flip every day in the fridge, smoke at about 200-F for five or six hours, slice for the week or leave it whole, and put back in the fridge.  Good stuff!  But for the record, you need to be careful, do you own research, and make your own decisions--you don't want to get sick or die from bad meat!

That said, we now we need some more salts, other than the nice ones we received in our curing box from last Christmas.  That has prompted a quick DIY look through the internet, trying to avoid nitrates, nitrites, salt peter, etc.  There is some knowledge that the nitrates and nitrites are not as bad as we thought...See the post by Chris Kresser.

So, on to the details of the research1.  The following is not extensive, but it got me to where I needed to be.

Morton® salts has section on Meat Curing Methods which helped a little bit (and yes, I'm sure there are hundreds of others), giving some of the commercial names so I could figure out what the standard industrial-grade curing was about.  The following was posted by DeejayDebi on the smokingmeatforums.com (emphasis mine):  

Just for an idea of what the differences are:

Prague powder #1 is a mixture of 1 part sodium nitrite and 16 parts salt. You normally use 1 level teaspoon of cure for 5 lb. of meat. Used at any time meat is not immediately put into freezer or refrigerator, Such as smoking, air drying, dehumidifying, etc. This is similar to and sometimes called Curing Salt.

Prague powder #2 is a mixture of 1 part sodium nitrite,.64 parts sodium nitrate and 16 parts salt. You normally use 1 level teaspoon of cure for 5 lb. of meat. mainly used for products that will be air cured for long time like: Country Ham, salami, peperoni, and other dry sausages.

Instacure 1 is a mixture of 1oz of Sodium Nitrite (6.25 %) to 1 lb of salt. Used at any time meat is not immediately put into freezer or refrigerator, Such as smoking, air drying, dehumidifying, etc.

Instacure 2 is a mixture of 1 oz of Sodium Nitrite (6.25 %) along with .64 oz od Sodium Nitrate (4 %) to 1 lb of salt. mainly used for products that will be air cured for long time like: Country Ham, salami, peperoni, and other dry sausages.

Note: The Curing Salts above contain FDA approved red coloring agent that gives them a slight pink color thus eliminating any possible confusion with common salt

Morton's Tender Quick is a mixture of salt, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate and sugar. You normally use 1 level tablespoon of cure for 1 lb. of meat.

Saltpeter is potassium nitrate and is also used as a curing agent but I know

Somehow it led me to the letsmakesomethingawesome.com blog by Cedar McKay and his "Home Cured Bacon Without Nitrates," or rather "salty-smoked pork belly" post that has a lot of details.  See update 2.

So, the current solution (actually solid) to the lack of curing salt in our pantry:

Sugar and Nitrate/Nitrite-Free Meat Cure

First off, try at your own risk.  You are responsible for your own cleanliness and sanitary methods in the kitchen!

  • Ingredients:  Salt (mostly) and Pepper (a good portion), fresh pork belly

  • Shape up the meat and coat it completely in the mixture, rubbing over the entire surface and into the pits and crevices.
  • Put it in a new clean storage container (we use the gallon ziplocks) and remove as much air as possible.
  • Flip daily for 5 to 7 days, keeping the meat below 38-F the whole time (recommendation by Cedar McKay).
  • Pull it out at the end, wash off the excess salt, pat dry with clean towels or paper towels.
  • Smoke at 200-F unti the inside is about 165-F 

That's all!  I'll update when we have the final product.

 UPDATE 31 August 2015:  Here's the starting product:

bacon02 BaconSalt 

Salt, Pepper, Bay leaf, and Garlic Powder.

 

 bacon03 PorkBelly  

1.37# of Pork Belly from Earth Fare ($2.99/#).

 

bacon04 PorkBellyWithSalt

Pork Belly with the mixture.

 

bacon05 BaggedBelly

Zipped up tight with very little airspace.

 

 1 This note is for my students.  In your scientific research papers, the web is a start, but you will need to actually look through the primary literature, as that is where you are heading in your careers.  As an example, imagine if a doctor just used WebMD for their degree and you went to see that Dr.  

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