I am attempting to cure my own bacon for the first time. I bought a Paleo cookbook (Beyond Bacon) that says that you must use pink salt made specifically for curing bacon. When I first read that, I thought they meant natural pink Himalayan salt. But on a second read (and some googling), I believe that they are referring to salt with nitrates added. I know that some times they add red dye to it (in the form of a product called Prague Powder). I am a member of Feingold Association and in their research they found that a lot of commercially processed cured meats that were thought to be completely natural contain the red dye (it is an ingredient of an ingredient so it does not have to be listed on the label). Therefore I am super leery of using it pink salt with nitrates.

I have found several websites that suggest using plain salt - and of course - they are getting a lot of push back for suggesting not using nitrates because it is not safe. But I really do not see where the process becomes unsafe - first the meat is left in the refrigerator (and that would keep meat cold enough to be safe to eat), then the meat is smoked up to 150 degrees (again, meat other than poultry would be considered safe at that temperature) and then, of course, the bacon is pan fried - again even plain, raw meat that is fried would be considered safe to eat. And of course, anything that is not used soon after the smoking process is done would be frozen (again, safe way to preserve raw or cooked meat). So what is the big deal? Has anyone here done research on this?

I would appreciate any thoughts on this.