Southern-style Collard Greens with Smoked Ham Hocks

Southern-style Collard Greens with Smoked Ham Hocks

  • Servings: 6+
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


A member of the cabbage family, collard greens are a staple on many tables in the southeastern part of the U.S. They were thought to have been brought over from Africa but they were here long before and cooked by the native Americans.  Long considered humble fare they are now getting the attention they’re due as they are very nutritious and high in iron, Vitamins A, C, and other nutrients.

In this recipe, we use smoked ham hocks instead of the more traditional fatback to flavor the greens.  Oh!, and when you’re done DO NOT throw out the liquid in the pot.  It’s called “pot liquor” and can be used as the cooking liquid for other veggies like beans or greens.


This is another in a series of posts titled “A Florida Family Farm Thanksgiving”, a collaboration with Chris and Eva Worden, owners and operators of Worden Farm, an organic family farm in Punta Gorda, Florida, and Tim and Chelsea Clarkson, owners and operators of Grove Ladder Farm, a Sarasota-based farm that specializes in pasture-raised, hormone and antibiotic free poultry and eggs.

The series includes recipes and photos of the food and beverage that the two families shared at their early Thanksgiving dinner at Worden Farm in Punta Gorda, Florida.



  • 2 bunches of collard greens, triple-washed (they can be sandy), with rib removed, leaves rolled up and sliced (as shown in photo below)
  • 1 or 2 smoked ham hocks (1 if you want just the smoky pork flavor of the ham hocks or 2 if you want meat as well)
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1 cup yellow onion medium dice
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste



  • Peel and medium dice the onion; set aside.
  • Mince the garlic; set aside.
  • Collard greens:
    • Triple wash, drain.
    • Remove the tough white rib (as shown above).
    • Cut the leaf crosswise then roll both together, slice; set aside.


  • Heat a large soup pot on a burner set at medium-high heat, add the olive oil, and onions, cook for about 1 minute, add garlic, cook for another minute.
  • Add the ham hock/s and water, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
  • After 1 hour remove the ham hocks and allow them to cool.
  • Add all the greens and gently press them until they are all underwater, cover and cook for another hour.
  • This next step is optional.
    • Although there isn’t a lot of meat on the hocks it is there, so if you want to return any meat to the pot of cooking collards, cut away the skin and fat from the ham hock/s.  Remove the meat and dice into medium-sized pieces; return them to the pot.
  • After 1 hour the greens should be tender but still have a little bite to them.
  • Taste for seasoning but I have never needed to add extra salt.  The ham hocks, which have been salt-cured and smoked, will release their salt into the liquid in the pot.
  • The collard greens with smoked ham hocks are ready!




Southern-style Collard Greens with Smoked Ham Hocks





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