Cut your pork belly into a nice square, bacon-like block. Rinse it and pat it dry.
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl until they are uniformly combined.
Mix the wet ingredients (if using) in a separate bowl until they are uniformly combined.
In a glass dish, use your very clean hands to slather the meat all over with the wet ingredients (if using) until thoroughly coated everywhere.
Place one half of the dry cure mixture in the bottom of the glass dish.
Place the wet pork belly into the dish and press it into the salt/sugar mix.
Carefully pour the rest of the dry mixture across the top of the meat and press it in uniformly all around, using your hands to thoroughly apply the cure mix into every nook and cranny of your pork belly.
Place the dish in the refrigerator for 3-10 days, until the meat feels firm throughout. (5 days is a good average for a thin belly about 1-1/2 inches thick, but check to be sure. The longer you cure it, the saltier it will be.)
Turn the bacon over every day in the liquid that will accumulate in the dish.
After 3-10 days curing, wash the salt/sugar mixture off of the pork belly very carefully.
Pat the bacon dry with a clean towel and set it on a rack over a baking sheet. Allow the bacon to air-dry uncovered in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
At this point, you can slice it for "green bacon" or you can smoke or roast the whole belly. Only smoking will give the pork belly that smokey flavor most are used to.
If roasting, preheat the oven to 175-200 degrees. Roast the pork belly in the oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees F, or about 90 minutes. The meat should be cooked a bit on the outside, but not all the way through.
If smoking, smoke over hickory or applewood at 175-200 degrees until meat reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees F, or about 3 hours. The meat should be cooked a bit on the outside, but not all the way through.
Let the bacon cool to room temperature on a wire rack over a baking sheet, tightly wrap in parchment paper, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. (This sets the flavor and texture.)
With a long, very sharp knife, slice it thin or thick, as desired. Use hard-to-slice pieces in pots of beans or soup.
Homemade bacon will keep for a week in the refrigerator and several months in the freezer.