On method, as long as each is done correctly, there are no real cons to either. They are a little different but accomplish the same end result. About the only pro for brining is two things: 10 you control the salt level, and 2) less maitenance - no turning or flipping every day.
hot smoke or cold smoke; again, 2 different ways to reach the same result. Cold smoking you are not cooking the meat, you are smoking for flavor and reduces the rendering of the fat, which is good; the other is it reduces the rendering of the fat, which is bad; depends on what you like! Cold smoking you are not getting the meat to a 'cooked - safe' temperature, but the curing reduces the risk, as well as smoking process, of pathogens forming, keeping it safe to store and freeze. However it MUST be cooked to min. 146° F to be safe to eat. In doing so, like in a frying pan or baking, broiling, etc., you render out excess fat; what's left in the pan.
In hot smoking, you are doing that function in the smoker instead, by bringing it up to 146° min. before pulling it, usually at 200° - 250° range smoking it. Then, you can eat it as is or cook it in oven, frying pan, broiler, grill, etc. and have less fat rendering from it as much has already rendered out.
Either method you want to bring it to a cooked - safe-to-eat state in the end.
I cook mine in the smoker, esp. for my sons, because they love it and I know they will munch on it immediately so it'd better be cooked, lol!
Skin on vs. skin off - again, your preference. If you like the rind, leave it on, it is a treat to chew on it and get all the smoky goodness. If you don't want to do that, then by all means, remove it. Now, two methods; before you cure, brine and smoke, or after. It is a lot more difficult to remove the skin before any processing, but it can be done but you have to be careful not to remove more than the skin.
After curing and smoking it is far easier to remove the skin-- work your knife around the edge, then scrape it down the hardened skin or sometimes you can even just use visegrips and pull it off cleanly. Now, what about all that smoke on the skin you're throwing away? Believe it or not, there's more than enough surface area on all other sides to make the bacon smokey by all means. And, in fact, that is the way you've eaten it for years out of the package. I strongly recommend de-rinding it after it is out of the smokehouse and still hot to warm myself, I've done thousands and thousands of bellies that way and no complaints from customers whatsoever.
Hope this answers your questions! Thank you for asking!