Just pulled my six bellies out of the cure and rinsed them, letting them soak in clear water for about half an hour.

Began with Six bellies, 12 pounds each which I acquired from a military commissary at 1.81 per pound. Cured for 10 days: three bellies with Sweeter than sweet cure and three with golden brown sugar (both from Indiana butcher supply) at the rate of 1/2 oz per pound, placed in large bags and let set in the fridge, turning every 3 days or so. Will let them dry, hopefully outside this weekend, as the weather is cool, then put them in the fridge on the bacon hangers to continue to dry. Probably for five days, until I begin the smoking. More photos to come when I start the smoking. See Pic
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it's still there, and no problems yet. we've never had any critters on the deck, it's 20 feet off the ground on the back side of our home with a 3 foot overhang on the roof on each side. Our dog would do a number on them if she could get to them, she's been wanting to go on the back deck real bad. They are still hanging and froze last night, I think I can leave them there till Tuesday afternoon, as the weather seems to be cooperating. I'll probably smoke after that. These really have a lot of excess fat, which may go in the deer sausage or hamburger grind this winter.
Ok, here is an attached pic of the bellies after the first round of smoke. I should explain. They were a little long to hang on my homemade rod in my FEC 100, so I had to cut them off on the bottom about four inches. Putting all the ends on two additional bacon hangers (totaling 8). So, I'm double smoking them in 12 hour shifts. Four hangers in the smoker, four out chilling and then switch every 12 hours until each load receives 24 hours of smoke. I'm holding temps steady at 150ish. During the last three hours of smoke on each load, I'll bump the temp up until I reach an internal 140 in the meat. This pic is after the first 12 hours.
Sorry to keep dragging this post out, but here is a shot of the first slices I took off of it. Some of it had more fat. I fried a couple of panfuls and it was amazing. Even the stuff with the fat, tasted amazing. This bacon is very dry. I have not weighed it all, so have no exact number for moisture loss yet. Hope to slice the rest tomorrow. Anyhow, here is the pic of some slices
Ok, here are the final stats: Began with 13 NOV with 71 pounds of Rhine-on pork belly at. Smoked 25-27 NOV and sliced 6 DEC. at which time had a finished weight of 50.8 pounds. This represents a 71.5 percent yield which means a 28.5 percent moisture loss.

From this weight came 31.7 pounds of slices, 9.0 pounds of rhine and 10.1 pounds of ends and pieces. The above pics of the lean slices may have been overly optimistic, as when I got fully into slicing them, these were the worst bellies I’ve ever purchases: Overly fat and very thin in the middle.

Anyway, we have our winter’s bacon done and lots of ends and pieces that I’ll add to my hamburger grind or use in deer sausage. The flavor is great and the texture is even better.

Hopefully in about a year, we'll have several heritage breed litters and lots of great bellies to cure. Couldn't resist sharing this cute pic of three of our little guys that I took today during the snow.

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