Skip to main content

Southern Collard Greens With Ham Hocks or Neck Bones

Originally from Virginia, Don is a retired engineer who loves to cook. He and his wife enjoy experimenting with recipes old and new.

Traditional Southern collard greens cooked with ham hocks, bacon drippings, and butter

Traditional Southern collard greens cooked with ham hocks, bacon drippings, and butter

Southern Country Cooking: Collard Greens With Ham

Collard greens are a seasonal Southern vegetable green that is typically grown in the early spring and late fall. These greens have a unique flavor that distinguishes them from other popular greens such as spinach, turnip, and mustard. Although collards can often be found in grocery stores across the United States, this green is traditionally associated with Southern cuisine.

As I know from personal experience, when you cook collards with a ham hock and maybe some bacon or bacon drippings and a chunk of butter, you will get a flavor combination that will knock your socks off.

I was recently reminded by a fellow reader that some foods are not just foods for the body, but foods for the soul. As I told him, these special dishes can be savored twice: once for the wonderful flavors, and twice for conjuring special memories of childhood and family gatherings of yore.

Old family recipes can be enjoyed for what they are, of course, but often they are made even better because of the memories with which they are associated.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Delishably


  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 pound smoked meat (ham hocks, smoked neck bones, smoked turkey wings, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 2 large bunches fresh collard greens, washed
  • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the smoked meat and salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 1 hour.
  2. Wash the collard greens thoroughly and pat dry. Remove the leaves from the main stems. Stack 6 to 8 leaves on top of each other and roll each stack up. Slice the stacks in 1/2- to 1-inch pieces.
  3. Place the greens into the pot with the meat. Add the bacon drippings and butter. Cook for about 45 minutes.
  4. Taste and season to your taste, then serve.

Notes and Tips

  • When is the meat done? By the time this dish is done, the meat should be falling off of the bone. Also, every serving should get a little bit of the meat.
  • Mix up your greens: Some people will combine collards with either turnip or mustard greens to get a different flavor. Whatever your combo, it's all good!
  • Give it an extra kick: Some people like to add a little of their favorite hot sauce to their greens, so have some handy.

Southern Cookbook

Make It a Complete Southern Meal!

© 2011 Don Bobbitt

Related Articles