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Recipe courtesy of Kathy Cary

Pork Belly Pastrami on Biscuits with Strawberry-Bourbon Preserves

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  • Total: 3 days 20 hr 30 min (includes cooling, brining and drying times)
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 24 biscuit sandwiches
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Pork and Brine:

1 1/2 cups Morton's kosher salt

1 cup bourbon, such as Old Forester

1 cup granulated sugar 

1/2 cup dark brown sugar 

1/4 cup honey 

2 1/2 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) Prague Powder Number 1 or Instacure Number 1 curing salt

2 tablespoons Woodford Reserve Sassafras and Sorghum Bitters 

1 tablespoon pickling spice

5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

5 pounds pork belly

Spice Mixture:

2 tablespoons toasted coriander seeds, crushed

2 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed 

1 tablespoon bourbon-smoked paprika 

1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper 

Strawberry-Bourbon Preserves:

6 cups quartered, hulled strawberries

1 cup dark brown sugar 

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon bourbon, such as Old Forester


4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder 

2 teaspoons salt 

1 teaspoon baking soda 

2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes 

2 cups buttermilk 


Special equipment:
a smoker, applewood chips and an instant-read thermometer
  1. For the pork and brine: In a large stockpot, combine 1 gallon of water with the kosher salt, bourbon, granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, curing salt, bitters, pickling spice and garlic. Bring to a boil and then refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, add the pork belly to the brine and refrigerate for 48 to 72 hours.
  3. Remove the pork from the brine (discard the brine) and rinse the pork with cold water. Pat the pork dry, then put it on a baking sheet and refrigerate it overnight, uncovered, to dry out.
  4. The next day, prepare a smoker with applewood chips.
  5. For the spice mixture: Combine the coriander, black peppercorns, paprika and red pepper in a small bowl. Rub the pork with the spice mixture.
  6. Smoke the pork at 180 degrees F until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the pork reads 155 degrees F, about 3 hours.
  7. For the strawberry-bourbon preserves: Combine the strawberries, brown sugar and 1 cup of the bourbon in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring often, and cook until the jam is reduced and thick, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Finish with the remaining 1 tablespoon bourbon. Let cool.
  8. For the biscuits: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  9. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a food processor. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse until the butter is in little specks. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, pour in the buttermilk and mix by hand. Scrape the biscuit dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it down with your hand until it is 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into about twenty-four 2-inch circles with a biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass and place the circles on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
  10. To assemble the sandwiches: Thinly slice the smoked pork belly pastrami and saute it briefly in a skillet over medium heat. Slice the biscuits and spread both sides with the preserves. Fill the biscuits with the sliced pork belly.