re: Ernie Diamond
indeed! tryin to do all my hw and learnt he basics.
so i used this
2 ounces (1/4 cup Morton or Diamond Crystal coarse kosher) salt
2 teaspoons pink curing salt #1 (I use this DQ Cure from Butcher-Packer, $2)
4 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
4 bay leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup brown sugar or honey or maple syrup
5 cloves of garlic, smashed with the flat side of a chef’s knife
2 tablespoons juniper berries, lightly crushed (optional)
5 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
i cut down on the kosher salt though
Assuming the belly has been in contact with the cure and/or brine the whole time, I'd go ahead and pull it. The initial moisture content and ratio of lean to fat can affect the feel of the curing/cured meat. If you leave the meat in the cure any longer, you'll likely have an overly salty chunk of bacon that will require blanching to make it palatable.
Of course, this should all be taken with a grain of salt, seeing as how I haven't been there to see what has been happening with the meat.