Beef Naval Pastrami {The BEST Way to Cook a Belly!}

Beef Belly Pastrami

This is the third installment of my “What to make with Beef Naval Pastrami and I have saved the best for last!

Making pastrami is another classic use of the beef belly.  While pastrami is usually made from brisket there are some folks that claim some of the famous New York delis actually use the belly.

Raw Whole Beef Belly


Cure the Beef Naval Pastrami Brine

Making pastrami is just as easy as making bacon.  Soak the belly in a pickling cure brine for a week in the refrigerator.

Pastrami Curing Brine

  • 1 gallon water
  • 5 tablespoons Morton TenderQuick
  • 3 tablespoons McCormick’s Pickling Spice Mix

After the belly has cured in the brine rinse the surface with cold water, pat dry with paper towels and rub the surface with black pepper and coriander.

Smoke the Cured Belly

I smoked this pastrami at 250F with hickory for four hours then wrapped it in aluminum foil and cooked it for another two hours until it was butter tender.

Beef Naval Pastrami

This guy was so tender it almost fell apart when I took it out of the foil.  This was one of those cuts that got the “jiggles and wiggles” every time I hit it with my knife.

What can I say?  The pastrami was amazing.

Beef Belly Pastrami

Yes, I know that there are probably 15 sacred rules about pastrami that I just broke. 

Don’t care.

What Would I Do Different?

I had a blast trying out a bunch of ways of smoking a beef belly but if I ever find another one then I am turning the entire thing into pastrami.

Turing it into bacon and cooking it like a brisket were fine ways of using this cut but the pastrami was freaking divine!

You are not going to find this cut in your local Wal Mart so head over to a real butcher shop and ask them to hook you up.


Beef Belly Pastrami

Beef Naval Pastrami

A beef belly is cured in a pastrami brine for a week then smoked with hickory until butter tender.
Prep Time 7 days
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 7 days 6 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 475 kcal


  • 1 Beef belly about three pounds
  • 1 gallon water
  • 5 tbsp Morton Tenderquick
  • 3 tbsp McCormick's Pickling Spice
  • 3 tbsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp coriander


  • Combine the water, Morton Tenderquick and Pickling spice.
  • Add the beef belly to the curing brine and allow to soak in the refrigerator for a week.
  • Remove the belly from the brine, rinse with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Season the belly with black pepper and coriander.
  • Smoke the belly at 250F with hickory for four hours.
  • Tightly wrap the belly in aluminum foil and smoke for another two hours or until probe tender. Internal temperature will be roughly 205F.


This is my favorite way of cooking a beef belly and the technique is super simple as long as you have some patience!
Keyword Beef Belly Pastrami