So the first section of the belly that I did was no prize winner. It had cured for only 5 days and wasnt pink throughout.
The second batch (of 2 sections) was MUCH better
I removed it from the cure and soaked it in cold water for 2 hours. Rinsed it, soaked it for another 1/2 hour and then dried it on paper towel.
I rubbed in some fresh cracked pepper.
I smoked it with apple chips at 175 for about 5 hours until it came up to 145 degrees. It hung at 113 for about 3 of those hours. I thought that my digital thermometer had frozen with 113 on the screen.
Luckily that was not the case, it started moving again and here is the result.
After the taste test the girlfriend and i agree that it is a little salty so i will have to adjust the cure and/or the soaking times after it comes out of the cure.
Regardless of the salt, it is still the best bacon i have ever eaten. The idea that it could be improved is welcomed and scary. BETTER THAN THIS? no way!?
thanks for all the help along the way fellow BBQers