For the first time ever, my mother tasked me with making the collard greens for Thanksgiving.  Typically I make everything else, but she makes the greens.   Similar to mac and cheese, the collard green duty isn’t just bestowed on just anyone.  So I definitely felt the pressure to knock this out of the park.   Chatted with some friends and of course the internet to come up with my very own collard greens.  After I was finishing off a bowl of just collard greens the day after Thanksgiving, I realized that this recipe justttt might be it, so I am sharing it here.  Get in to these Smoked Turkey Collard Greens.

Bowl of Smoked Collard Greens
5 from 4 votes

Smoked Turkey Collard Greens

Course Entree, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Soul Food, Southern
Keyword African American Recipe, Collard Greens, Soul Food
Servings 10


  • 3 Tbsp Salted Butter
  • 1 Cup Chopped White Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Green Onion
  • 4 Garlic Cloves (minced) I use a garlic press
  • 3 Cups Chicken Broth or Stock (low sodium)
  • 1 Smoked Turkey Leg *you can find this in your meat section*
  • 1-2 Tbsp Liquid Smoke *add more if you like the flavor*
  • 2-3 Dashes Louisiana Hot Sauce *add more if you like spicy greens*
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 Pounds Collard Greens I used the bagged collard greens from HEB that are washed and cut
  • 3 Tsp Slap Ya Mam Seasoning
  • 3 Tsp Black Pepper


  1. If you are using bagged collard greens (easiest route) remove them from the bag and place them in a bowl. Rinse if needed and remove some of the extra stems if you would like. If you are using fresh greens, be sure to clean and cut them before moving on to the next step.

  2. Next remove the turkey from the drum sticks and chop up into chunks. Set aside.

  3. On medium heat, add butter to a large pot and allow to melt covering the whole pan. Add in your garlic, white onion and green onion. Cook until veggies become soft and fragrant. Add in your chicken broth, brown sugar and then chopped turkey.  Allow them to cook on medium heat for about five minutes. 

    Collard Greens
  4. Next add in your greens. Cook the greens on medium heat for about 20-30 minutes until the greens have become soft and have a darker green color. While cooking, add in your pepper and slap ya mama seasoning. Be sure to taste to determine if you need to add more seasoning. If the "after taste" is basically water, you will want to add a little more liquid smoke. If the spice does not hit you on the first taste, you may want to add in more hot sauce. Add in more seasonings as needed.

    Keep on low heat until ready to serve and be sure to serve it with the juice! If you do it right, the "pot liquor" should have tons of flavor.


Bowl of Smoked Collared Greens

This recipe is really simple and if you find the flavor is off there is a bit you can do to fix it.

  • Too much seasoning? Add more chicken broth.
  • The garlic flavor not coming through? Add in some garlic powder.
  • Should I add in salt?  I would say no.  The smoked turkey, liquid smoke, and slap ya mama have salt in them.  Additional salt is not necessary.
  • Can I add bacon? Yes, I have added bacon before and it worked well.  Be sure to cook it first before cooking your veggies.
  • Why the sugar?  I like to have several notes of flavor.  The brown sugar adds some contrast in my opinion to the smoke and spice.
  • What can I use besides Slap Ya Mama seasoning? If it is not in your grocery store, I would recommend buying it on Amazon because it is the best (yes this is an affiliate link).  Other options would be Tony Chachere’s Seasoning (less hot sauce if you do that) or the old school Lawry’s.
  • Can I make this in the instant pot? Yes.  If you do this, be sure to sauté your vegetables first and then add in your broth and greens.  The cooking process takes 5-10 minutes before the steam release.  I personally did not find this method to be easier than the stove top.

So listen, I will be making a batch of these and sweet potato honey cornbread for the new year because I am trying to be “where the money resides” in 2021!  The old folks always said gold and green are your best bet for good fortune in the new year and who am I to argue.   Go ahead and save this recipe for your new years eve meal.

Wishing you all healthy, safety, love and happiness in 2021.