Hi, new to the forum. Been reading some interesting write-ups from different people making bacon. I've been making bacon for 7 or 8 years or so and I'd like to tell y'all just how I do it. I suppose there's as many ways to make it as there are people out there doing it. But it all began with salt. I suppose in the early days before reefers salt was all they had to do something with pork to preserve it. Beef and most game meats could be dried into jerkey but pork presents other issues. Anyhow salt it was at that time. Somewhere down the road someone thought to spice things up a bit and the various flavorings went into the mix. I've tried the maple flavor and just don't care for it. Never tried honey but I think that might be good. Personally I just use brown sugar, salt and a little tender quick. Just last week I made some without the tenderquick. I wanted to make some for my nephew. His kids have allergie issues and I thought I'd avoid the nitrates for him. Never made it that way so it will be new territory for me. I don't expect any trouble with the cure though but I'll find out when I slice it up. I usually do a dry rub of 50/50 salt & brown sugar and with about 1 lb. of each I add 1/4 cup or so of tenderquick. That's it. I rub it in and stack the bellies into a plastic container with a cover. I set it out in the shed for 2-3 days and then cover with a brine. Let it set for 6 days total then rinse them off and smoke. I see some here drain the liquid off as it's extracted. I leave it in and just add the brine to it. I hang them to dry in the smoker then smoke for 6-12 hrs. I then hang them in the shed to dry some more for 2 wks. This time I varied this a little by not adding the brine. I just used the dry rub and overhauled them 3 times ( every couple days ). I left them to soak in the liquid that develops for a total of 10 days. That's a bit longer than when I brine them but I'll see if it's necessary when I taste them. The rest of the handling is the same. I'm curious to see how things come out and how it compares with past years. I order a case of medium bellies from a local Amish market. Their quality has always been very good and the price is fair. I do pay a bit more to get bellies with skin removed. Just makes my life a bit easier. I just hate removing them myself. Of course I loose out on some cracklin's but then my heart is thankful for that. When I hung them out in the shed this morning I was thinking about the drying time a bit. Not sure why I do that but the quality in the past has been very nice so I just continue doing it. I don't think it would matter a whole lot to not dry them either. If you do it you just have to make sure the temps. don't rise to much. Colder is better. I use a homemade smokin rig. It's an old commercial reefer and an outside smoke generator. I use a small gas burner inside to heat things up a bit with a thermometer on the outside to moniter things. I don't have a thermostat so I just regulate things with the burner valve. Not a very good method but I use what I got until I get something better. I have an old aluminum traffic signal box for the generator. I put a small squirrilcage blower motor on the outside and rigged two tubes to direct half the air downward to a tray. I put hardwood sawdust in the tray and start it up with a propane torch and with a speed controller I regulate the air blowing on it to just get a slow burn. When I get it just right it will burn 4-5 hrs. before needing to be refilled. The other half of the air is directed into a drier flex tube and blows the smoke into the reefer box. Works pretty good except when I use the burner to heat things up the door warps a little and doesn't seal tight. Gotta work on that. So far so good. Curious to see how others do it. Maybe I can get some ideas and modify my methods. Always lookin for a better mouse trap. Thanks, Happy New Year. Things are a bit chilly here in New Jersey. Roger in NJ Retired USAF reserves. Just like the tank.