Pulverize the saltpeter, then mix it with the brown sugar and 4 cups of salt. Dampen the mix slightly with a little water and rub it all over the meat. Lay the meat skin side down on boards for 9 days. Then rub thoroughly with salt; use all the salt that will adhere to the meat. Let lie for 3 days.
Hang the side meat in the smokehouse and cold-smoke it for 3 days. Sprinkle each piece with black pepper. Have ready a cloth sack for each slab of bacon. Mix a solution of starch and water, adding a little red pepper to prevent mold and keep the flies away. Wet the sacks with the starch solution, making them stiff. Put each piece of meat in a cloth sack, tie the end, and hang in a cool place. (In warm climates, it’s best to refrigerate the bacon if it is to be kept very long. Bacon, being fatty, tends to go rancid if kept too long after curing and smoking.)