I have no answers for you and wish you luck!
I wish I had the guts to cure some bacon. My Dad used to cure his without pink salt using only salt & pepper and hickory smoke. I keep asking him to help me do it the old school way that he did, but he has no interest in it nowadays. I think it's because it reminds him too much of my late Mother.
Either way, I hope to do it sometime with his help before it's too late.
Operation BBQ Relief Founding Member - I am Obsessive Compulsive about BBQ. Google it.