As mentioned a few posts back, I had purchased an entire pig from Kinikin Natural Foods down in Montrose, CO. It's a pretty amazing thing to be breaking down a pig from primals in my home, something I can for sure say is a first. For those that don't know, I work in advertising and technology, so my natural inclination is to experiment and see what happens. This can be across a variety of spectrums, perhaps a type of cut, or using an animal that wouldn't normally be used, or in this case, the affect of different salts on the curing process.
With hundreds of different salts, ranging in taste, size, texture and origin, the choices can be pretty daunting, but starting simple and with something that is available for most folks is what I intended to do here. The two salts I used are, the obvious control of Kosher Salt, and then a Hawaiian Sea Salt, also known as Alaea, Hawaiian Red Salt and Alae. The gist of this salt is it's a salt where baked red clay is added to add iron oxide to the salt, and it imparts a bit of flavor, but also serves to mellow out the "saltiness" of the salt and make it a bit more earthy in nature. I chose this salt also because It's common in a transitional pork dish in Hawaii known as the Kalua pig, as well as other dishes like poke.
I created a recipe, to be posted later, that is identical except for the salts. As luck would have it, my pig is pretty well balanced and the loins weighed in within about 40grams of each other, so even the size will be very comparable. They cured in the fridge for 7 days and were washed off and wrapped in cheese cloth. I'm not quite sure how long it will take to dry, however my guess is about 4 - 6 weeks, basically waiting until I see about a 50% reduction in starting weight.
Salt is such an easy ingredient to play around with, and should be an easy place for people to start. Most supermarkets offer a small variety now, with places like Whole Foods even having a whole bulk section of salts to choose from. Me personally, I purchase mine from two places:
Savory Spice Shop - A Colorado company with storefronts around the state, and in NJ now, but in Boulder they know me and it's where I buy all my dried ingredients.
The Meadow - An absolutely amazing shop out in Oregon that sells more salt in a small shop than I have ever seen in my entire life. The Icelandic salt in particular is one that was a mental "trip" if you will, being wet, the consistency of confectionery sugar and about as salty as salt can get, as well as being very alkaline.
Check back in 4 to 6 weeks and see what the taste differences are, if any.