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How to Cook Southern Greens

If you want to cook a great Southern meal, you want to be sure you perfect How to Cook Southern Greens!

spinachIn the American South, two or more kinds of greens are frequently cooked together & serve as side dishes, especially with Holiday dinners.

Oh, my…the way they are prepared is ever so delicious, and of course, with rich Holiday meals, greens are typical of what we tend to crave. It’s almost a contest to find who prepares the tastiest greens.

How to Cook Southern Greens:

After the cooking of greens (collards, mustard, turnip, beet greens, etc., & any combinations of them), they are strained & often served with vinegar & hot pepper sauce, as well as the cooking water.

Greens are especially delicious combined with smokey sausage, smoked ham or smoked turkey leg. Homemade cornbread goes well with this side dish to soak up the rendered liquid.

Since the meat used tends to be salty, I omit the addition of salt until the very end or completely, as each person can also add it to their own portion on their plate, as desired.

This recipe yields 8 or 9 servings.

Type: Side Dish Recipe

Serve with: butter, hot sauce, vinegar
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1 1/2 – 3 hrs
Yields: 8 – 9 servings


  • 12 cups water
  • 8 – 12 oz salt pork, bacon, smoked neck bones or ham hocks – bacon should be cut into small cubes
  • 4 lbs greens – collard, mustard, kale, beet, spinach, chard
  • 1 small red chili pepper – * optional; minced, seeds removed; or use red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • black pepper – to taste
  • salt – to taste; test & adjust at very end
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice


  1. In a large stock pot, mix together & bring to a boil, water & pork – salt pork, bacon, smoked neck bones or ham hocks.
  2. Reduce the heat & simmer, partly covered, for about 1 1/2 hrs.
  3. Wash & rinse your greens well. * Tip: If the ribs of the greens are thick & hard, remove ribs & discard or keep in a plastic freezer bag until you make stock, if desired.
  4. Tear or cut with a knife or tear the leaves, and add them to the pot. * Tip: A small red chili pepper with seeds removed or crushed pepper flakes can be added, if desired.
  5. Reduce heat & simmer partly covered until the greens are tender – about 15 – 50 min, depending upon what kind of greens you use. * Tip: Do not overcook.
  6. Strain greens & save cooking liquid for later use.
  7. Transfer greens to a serving dish & gently stir in butter, black pepper to taste, a couple ladle-fuls of cooking liquid & fresh lemon juice.

Serve these Southern-style greens with hot sauce & vinegar for accompanying condiments available for each person to use, if they so desire. Cornbread is an ideal match.

Thanks for checking me out on Cooking with Kimberly. Please check out my blog too:


I hope you enjoy this Southern USA Recipe on Cooking with Kimberly. Until next time…

Be a Champion in Your Kitchen & Eat Deliciously!

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Author: Ingrid Turner

Ingrid Turner from IngridTurnerToday.com, is a blogger, writer, grandmother, mother, cancer survivor and all around sparkling human being. From cooking, crafts, seniors’ issues, cancer, health, pets, gardening & the like, she entertains us in her writings. Ingrid is also a regular on her daughter's cooking show, “Cooking with Kimberly” @ CookingWithKimberly.com. Website Facebook Twitter YouTube

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