So, where were we with this pig? I think at this point we should have some hams brining. Now onto the bacon. Just about any fatty piece can be cured and if you wish, smoked. A year or so ago guanciale (jowl bacon) was all the rage, now chefs are pushing lardo (salted back fat, although it sounds like Madison Avenue's idea of a "new and improved" product. Buy Lardo!). There's American bacon, known as streaky bacon in other countries, British back bacon, pancetta, Canadian bacon (known there as "ham", a cured, smoked loin), there's also streak o'lean (American lardo) & salt pork (more American lardo).
The last item really says it all. We're talking salt & pork here. Other ingredients like sugar & aromatics, or other processes like smoke, are optional. Myself I use 5 parts salt to 4 parts sugar. From there you need 1 ounce of that mixture per pound of pork. Rub it in well, place in a container, cover with plastic wrap and put something on top of it for weight. I usually stack hotel pans with the other parts of the pig that are awaiting processing to start things off. Liquid will leach out of the meat and some of the sugar will turn to liquid as well so you'll want to drain this after a few days. Two weeks or so for your basic cure will be fine.
If you're then doing anything like guanciale or pancetta you'll want to hang this. Somewhere cool, basements are great if you have one that you can keep rodent-free. For pancetta, rub some garlic, black peppercorns and red chile flakes onto the meat side of your belly. Roll into a tight log, tie with butcher's twine and then age approximately 1 month. Traditionally you'd do this pressed between planks and progressively tighten them but most of us don't have the setup for this. Also, you might want to just use straight salt for the curing mix for pancetta rather than the salt/sugar mixture. A friend from Switzerland remarked how sweet most American cured pork products are. Guanciale you'll rub with chiles and black pepper and let hang for about 45 days. I use our keg fridges for curing. They're set at about 50 degrees, a little cooler than I'd really want for the curing and a little bit on the dry side but it's a good compromise. My sous calls these types of preparation "pork lox"
For American bacon after your belly has cured for about 2 weeks, get the smoker going (your choice of wood, I usually use apple) and smoke to your desired degree of smoke flavor. If you have dogs don't don't do this in the backyard. Believe me, I learned the hard way.
Tomorrow sausage formulas. Yes, I said formulas.