Pig Tail Collard Greens 4.000

Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post

Smoke Signals Feb 22, 2016

This recipe was inspired by the greens served at McMillan Bar-B-Que in Mobile, Ala., where the secret flavoring ingredient is -- smoked pig tail. Here, Jim Shahin offers options on the choice of meat; adding it to the cooking liquid before the greens go in deepens the flavor of the greens and their liquor.

Serve with corn bread for sopping up the liquor.

Make Ahead: The greens can be refrigerated up to 4 days in advance.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings; makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups

  • 2 quarts water
  • 8 ounces smoked meat, such as pig tail, ham hock or turkey neck; or bacon cut into 1/2-inch squares
  • About 1 pound collard greens
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
  • 1 or 2 dashes hot pepper sauce (optional)


Bring the water to a boil in a pot over medium-high heat, then add the smoked meat of your choice, whole (unless you are using bacon, which gets cut into pieces). Reduce the heat to medium or medium-low so the liquid is barely bubbling; cook for 45 minutes, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface.

Meanwhile, place the collard greens in a colander or bowl. Rinse them 3 times to make sure all grit is gone. Hold the greens vertically, then tear the leaves from the stems, discarding the latter. Stack the leaves, then cut them into 1-inch squares.

Add the greens to the pot, along with the garlic, onion, apple cider vinegar, the teaspoon of salt, the 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and the hot pepper sauce (to taste), if using; increase the heat to medium-high just to bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and cook for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how tender you like your greens.

Shred some of the smoked meat and leave it in the greens, if you like, or discard. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve warm.

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Recipe Source

From Smoke Signals columnist Jim Shahin.

Tested by Andrew Sikkenga.

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