1In a large pot, stir together 1/2 gallon water,1 cup sugar, salt and molasses. Bring to a boil, stirring well until sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat, stir in the remaining water, sugar and vinegar. Allow the brine to cool, then refrigerate until the liquid reaches 40^. The brine can be made a few days ahead of time.
2When you are ready to cure the meat, rinse the pork belly. Place it in a large Tupperware like container that can be sealed. Pour the cold brine over the pork belly,add the pepper, seal the container and place it in the refrigerator. Keep it there for 3 to 4 days, turning it over every day.
3After brining discard the liquid and pat the belly dry. Set the meat on a rack over a sheet pan in front of a fan, and leave it for 2 hours.
4Heat smoker and add wood chips to the bottom. Place the pork belly in the smoker and smoke for 4 to 6 hours, depending on how smoky you like the bacon to taste. Every hour check to make sure you have enough wood chips.
5Remove the belly from the smoker and allow it to cool for 15 minutes before refrigerating. The meat is easiest to slice when it is cold. Slice what you need and keep the rest well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to one month. Freeze the remainder for up to three months.
Place bacon strips on a sheet pan fitted with a rack and place it into a cold oven. Cook for 12-15 minutes at 400^. Remove from rack and drain on paper towels.
To Pan Fry:
Add bacon strips to a cold skillet. Cook on medium-high until the fat has rendered out, turning over after 7 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.