In a small bowl, combine the seasonings (optional), Kosher salt and sweetener (not the pink salt). Remember to calculate the correct amount of salt if you are using the minimum.
Place the belly on a tray lined with foil. Using half of the cure mix, sprinkle evenly over the surface of the belly, and rub in gently. Turn over and repeat on the other side with the remaining mix.
Place the entire belly and any extra curing mix from the tray into a large zip top bag.
Add the pink salt. Measure carefully because you don’t want extra.
Remove as much air as possible from the bag, seal it and place in the refrigerator.
Every day, for 7 days, flip the belly over. You do not need to open the bag to do this step. After flipping the belly, massage the cure around a bit and return to the refrigerator. It is normal to see liquid form in the bag.
After 7 days, remove the belly from the bag and rinse under water to remove all remaining salt/sweetener.
Pat dry with paper towels.
Taste the bacon. For your first taste, slice two pieces off one end of the bacon (the outer slice may be extra salty). Cook thoroughly and eat. If you are happy with your bacon, skip to the smoke or bake step.
If the bacon tasted too salty, let it soak submerged in a casserole dish of water for an hour. Slice and taste the bacon again. (This time, you only need to cut one piece of bacon per test if you can resist.)
Smoke (see note #3) or bake the cured belly at 200° F until the internal temperature reaches 150° F. This cooking step is a safety to ensure your bacon is cooked. If you always cook your sliced bacon thoroughly before eating, you can skip this step.
Store bacon in an airtight plastic bag or container in the refrigerator for up to a week, slicing and cooking as needed. If you don’t eat it all within a week, the remainder may be frozen.