Why is meat cured?
For a couple of reasons. One is safety. When meat is cold smoked its temperature often stays in the danger zone for several hours or days. Many environmental factors of this treatment are such that the growth of dangerous bacteria is greatly accelerated. The curing of the meat inhibits this growth.
The other reason is traditional preparation. There are many curing techniques that were developed in the days before refrigeration that are continued today for traditional reasons. A good example is corned beef. Old time butcher shops closed every weekend. Ice, the only refrigerant available, could not dependably hold fresh meat for two days. To keep unsold meat from going to waste, the butcher soaked the meat in a strong brine or covered it with coarse salt to trigger osmosis. The grains of salt were called “corn” in England, and the name “corned beef” stuck with the product.