To prepare the pickling spice, toast the coriander, peppercorns and mustard seeds in a dry hot skillet, just until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them. Crack the spices by crushing them with a heavy pan. Combine the toasted spices with the remaining spices. Store in a sealed container.
To prepare the brine, combine all brine ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.
Place belly in the brining liquid. Weigh it down with plates to make sure it is fully submerged. Refrigerate for 4 days.
Remove belly from brine and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Combine the rub ingredients in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind coarsely. Coat the belly with the rub. Preheat your Yoder Smokers YS640 pellet grill to 250ºF.
Smoke at 250ºF until internal temperature reaches 160ºF, about 3 hours. Double wrap the belly in foil, and continue cooking until the meat is tender when probed with a digital thermometer (190ºF-195ºF), but not falling apart. Allow meat to rest half an hour. Slice and serve.
We start with the pastrami brine. The very same pastrami brine we use on brisket for classic pastrami.
In 3-4 days time, the belly will take on all of those wonderful aromatics, as well as the added moisture from the brining process.
Be sure to rinse off the outside of the belly. The seasoning has worked its way into the meat. Excess salt attached to the outside can make the finished product too salty.
The coriander and black pepper really solidify the pastrami flavor. The addition of the R Beef Rub adds some garlic and paprika and a little sweetness.
The Yoder Smokers YS640 pellet grill puts the perfect smoke on the belly, and keeps the temperature consistent for the entire cook.
You can slice as thick or thin as you like, but pencil thick is just right for me, and as you can see below, these slices are perfectly tender!