A few years ago I visited Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams in Madisonville, Tennessee and was fortunate to be invited into the preparation area where the charcutieres were taking raw meat and putting it in the cure to begin the process of turning it into bacon or ham.
It was quite the experience. The workers were taking big slabs of bellies and hams and dredging them through troughs filled with sodium nitrite and salt. Once the meat was carefully coated with curing salts it was trundled into a separate part of the facility so it could be aged.
My grandpa, Big Jim Sullivan, did it the exact same way. He’d kill a hog, butcher it then take the sub-primal cuts into the smokehouse where he had a big, Hickory work-bench set up as a curing station. This is where he dragged the meat through a pan filled with cure and salt, then hung the cuts til they were deemed ‘cured’.
Our family ate like kings and we never got sick.
But, if you want to be precise in your curing projects here’s a link to a handy calculator that will aid you in your efforts. I use it all the time.
Handy Universal Cure calculator.