I'm about to cure and smoke some pork belly I have, and as I've been doing research and looking at various techniques and instructions, I've noticed that a large amount of recipes, and a large amount of people, freely use the nitrate/nitrite cure as an aid in their curing process. I really try to stay away from things like that as much as possible (although I try to stay realistic), and wanted to ask y'all if there are legitimate reasons why a salt/sugar based cure alone (whether it's brown sugars, molasses, maple syrup, etc) isn't possible to safely process homemade bacon. I understand things like the visuals as far as color (the bacon not staying a nice pink inside), etc., will be affected. I understand that those nitrites/nitrates are an integral part of the curing process, but I'm not convinced yet that bacon can't taste out of this world, and be preserved safely (vacuum sealed and frozen till eaten) without the addition of those ingredients. So, I'd really appreciate it if someone could help me understand. Thanks. Shad.