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Fresh Collards

Recipe and photography by Bev Davis.


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Posted November 9, 2017

These collards are well seasoned.  Cooked until tender.  My recipe is very simple, flavorful, and easily doubled.  If desired, cook longer and add more seasonings.  Good to the last bite.   Whenever I cook some for friends or family, there are none left.  It happened again recently which inspired me to share the recipe.  Sometimes before serving, I'll cook and refrigerate over night in a lidded container.  Yes, they taste better the next day!  Enjoy.


2 bunches of fresh collard greens

1-1/2 cups chopped ham hocks, ham bones, 

        OR 3 smoked turkey necks  

1/4 cup bacon drippings OR olive oil (optional)

6 tablespoons Liquid Smoke, divided

2 tablespoons sugar (optional)*

water for boiling

salt and ground black pepper to taste

pepper sauce (optional)


Cut stalks from end of each bunch.  Either tear or cut thick stalks from each leaf.  Discard stalks.  Thoroughly wash leaves in a clean sink filled with warm salt water.    Drain water.  Thoroughly rinse in clear warm water.  Repeat.  This will remove debris from each leaf. 

Stack 10 or more leaves together.  Roll lengthwise.  Cut across roll in 1/2" sections.  Cut again down the middle to make bite sized pieces.  Repeat until all leaves are cut.  Set aside. 

Add ham hock, ham bones, OR smoked neck bones to a saucepan large enough to hold collards.  Use two saucepans if necessary.  Add bacon drippings OR olive oil, sugar (if using), 3 tablespoons of Liquid Smoke, and collards.  Cover with water.  Simmer over medium-low heat for 30 to 40 minutes OR until desired tenderness.  Add extra hot water to cover greens when it decreases before done. 

Season with salt and ground black pepper.  Taste.  Add remaining 3 tablespoons of Liquid Smoke if desired. Mix well.  Serve with pepper sauce (optional).  Makes 2 bunches.


Some collards are bitter.  Sugar solves the problem with a slight sweetness.  If preferred, add the sugar after cooking.