Curing methods and techniques often look really simple, but you will discover that paying close attention to those steps can make a finished product that is much better than when you sort of do it on-the-fly. (The same can be said for brining foods, making pickled veggies, home canning, smoking fish etc.)
Back to your question.... Yes, the liquid which came from the slab is important, but so was the amount of salt and curing agent you used, the amount of spices, as well as the temp of your fridge. I would bet your bacon is not ruined, it just received a lighter cure because you poured off the liquid. Your next batch will be much better. This batch might resemble side pork, which is belly that is not cured. I would do a couple of things... first make sure it passes the color and smell test. It should not be greenish or have a funky smell. If you pass the first test, I would slice off a couple of test slices and fry it, paying attention to saltiness and other flavors. If it's not overly salty, you may get by with a short soak-out, followed by an overnight rest in the fridge before smoking. If it's kind of bland, you may elect to add some black and white pepper to the inside face (opposite the skin) before smoking. Following smoking, test fry a couple more slices. If the saltiness is too light, you might make a mental note to add salt before frying.
There are an unlimited number of curing methods out there and even though it sounds corny, the best advice is to start with one that will deliver proven results.... and if you tickle anything start with the spices.... leave the salt and curing agent amounts alone.
KCBS - CBJ
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