Brian's Collard Greens

I am the very last guy who can say "I am from the South," or know how to cook collards but that doesn't stop me from trying to make the best collard greens I can produce. I do like collard greens, especially when they are smokey from the ham hocks and just a tad spicy, when they make you hot from inside while eating.....yeah!

I got this recipe from my good friend Brian Farkas a true foodie and a man from the very deep South (i.e. Pittsburgh). Modified it a little but for the most part, it's his. So thank you for that. I know I am not going to win a prize making collard greens here, maybe in Europe but not down here in the South. I am lucky if I get a good chuckle for the effort, but darn it, I like them, and that what counts. Now, if all I could make is good grits, the world would be OK.

I figure it's almost like a balance. We're eating these wonderful collard greens and turnip greens which are so medicinally good for you and, OK, so what if it has a little ham hock in it?

~Paula Deen

By the way, I believe every one of us has undeniably a story to tell. Life is an experience, and even if you don't have a fantastic story to tell, you still have a story somewhere buried in you. Dig it out.

Today I would like to introduce my latest project, hopefully without coming off as pretentious. I know I am not a writer; I barely speak the language and know my limitations, but so God help me, I had to give it my best shot at it. There are a few things in life important enough to do, regardless. You have to, or want to, prove something to yourself more so than others.

To put my story on paper was or is one of those things. And so I did. Is anybody going to read it? Most likely not, but that's alright because it's not what this is about; it's about doing what I had set out to do and completing it. Leave something behind that is truly mine.

Was it easy? No, and because of that, it makes it even more precious. The biggest hurdle, though, comes at the very end. To have the courage to publish something so private to oneself is not easy; to hit that enter button for the last time before everyone has access to it. To get all the nagging thoughts out of your head that everybody is going to ridicule you because you just can't write a just can't! But once that book sits on your desk, you don't care what everybody thinks, it's just a great feeling of accomplishment.

My story began four decades ago, and memories are tricky. They are little fragments that we put together until a picture emerges. Today I would like to share a painting that emerged from all those fragments that represent my story.

I encourage you to tell your story, in writing or otherwise. There are many, many reasons not to do it, and walking away from it is easy; finishing it is difficult. Don't let the naysayers discourage you from your dreams or projects. Everything is impossible until someone does it!

Book Link:


2 tablespoon canola oil

1 yellow onion, peeled and diced

3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

4 quarts low sodium chicken broth (store-bought)

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

1 tablespoon sizzling habanero sauce or your favorite

1 tablespoon liquid smoke

2 smoked ham hocks

2 pounds collard greens, washed, stem removed, and sliced coarsely


Heat oil in a large pot and cook onions and garlic until translucent and have lost their raw appearance.

Add broth to the pot, then add garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, liquid smoke, hot sauce, and ham hocks and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a low boil and cook for 30 minutes.

Add collard greens and cook for another hour to an hour and a half until ham hocks are soft and meat can be pulled off the bone. Chop up meat and return to collards. Discard bones.

Serves 2


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