Recently I spoke with Mr. DeRamus of DeRamus Family Meats in Alabama where I had purchased slabs over the past twenty or so years. He cures and overhauls his slabs weekly and then pulls them after four to six weeks. Then they're soaked in about four changes of hot water followed by drying to achieve a pellicle. Think one or two days. Then smoke. Your choice either hot or cold smoked. However I don't think that deRamus is in business anymore. 8^,,,((
And today I just smoked my bellies that have been curing for around four to six weeks. Mmmmm should be good. I last spoke to Mr. DeRamus about a year ago.