Authentic Southern Style Collard Greens slow-cooked with smoky ham hocks, onions, garlic, vinegar, and hot sauce. Try this homestyle side dish with your favorite home-cooked meal!
Growing up my family made these Southern Style Collard Greens fairly often, especially in the summer and the fall when the garden was producing loads of fresh vegetables.
Southerners love their greens, so collard greens are a definite staple in Southern cooking. They’re actually a member of the cabbage family and have a similar flavor somewhere between cabbage and kale.
The hearty leaves stand up to long cooking times and need to be braised low and slow to reduce their bitter taste. Also, most of the stems are removed because they are very tough and more bitter than the leaves.
In most Southern households when someone is making a pot of greens, they might tell you they “cooked up a mess ‘o greens” and it might actually be served more like a main dish with a side of cornbread to sop up the pot likker.
Pot Likker is the concentrated drippings or broth made from the simmered collard greens and smoked meat like ham hocks, salt pork, smoked turkey or bacon. This delicious broth is packed with vitamins and nutrients, not to mention great flavor. Don’t miss out on dipping your cornbread!
Along with blackeyed peas, Southern Style Collard Greens are served on New Year’s Day for good luck. Get the recipe for my Blackeyed Pea Soup to start your year off right!
Are Southern Style Collard Greens good for you?
Yes! Collard greens are in the category of dark green vegetables that are loaded with nutrition. Collard greens are high in fiber and are a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, which strengthen and protect bones. They are also full of iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Tips for the best Southern Style Collard Greens
- Wash collard greens very well or you will end up with sandy gritty collards.
- Cook for the recommended time or you’ll end up with tough, bitter greens.
- Cut into bite-sized strips.
- Use a large 6-quart stockpot for cooking.
What to serve with Southern Style Collard Greens?
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Southern Style Collard Greens
- 2 smoked ham hocks or smoked turkey wings legs or thighs
- 2 sweet onions finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 32-ounce containers chicken broth
- 3 pounds collard greens trimmed
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco Hot Sauce optional
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
- Wash greens thoroughly, about 3 or 4 times to ensure they are free of dirt and insects.
- Prepare the greens by tearing each leaf from its thick center stems; discard stems.
- Set collard greens aside until ready to cook.
- Combine onions, ham hocks, and garlic in a stockpot; add chicken broth.
- Bring mixture to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer the mixture over medium heat until meat is falling off the bone, about 2 hours (if using smoked turkey, reduce cooking time to 1 hour).
- Stir in collard greens, vinegar, Tabasco hot sauce, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper into the broth mixture. (You may have to add the greens in batches so that they can all fit into the pot.)
- Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook on low until the greens have reached desired tenderness, about 2 more hours.