Food & Drink

New Year’s Smoky Greens

It’s no secret that Southerners love their greens, especially on January 1

Photo: Margaret Houston

It’s no secret that Southerners love their greens, but collards reach new heights of popularity during the winter months—especially on New Year’s Day. For Joe Schafer, the executive chef at Atlanta restaurant King + Duke, the holiday season wouldn’t be complete without them. His smoky recipe pays tribute to memories of cooking over fire with his family and reflects the rustic menu at King + Duke, where a 24-foot open hearth dominates the kitchen.

With smoked ham hock and lard contributing body, and doses of hot sauce and serrano chile for spice, Schafer’s greens are a comforting addition to any holiday spread. The smoke from the fire and the black steel pot give them great flavor, says the chef. And that broth could cure just about anything that ails you.


    • 1 tbsp. lard

    • 2 white onions, sliced

    • 1 head garlic, split

    • 1 smoked ham hock

    • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar

    • 1/2 cup brown sugar

    • 3 tbsp. Tabasco sauce

    • 1 serrano chile, split

    • 1 gallon pork stock

    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    • 6 heads young collards


  1. Build a hardwood fire for cooking, or prepare your grill as necessary. If building a fire, burn for awhile prior to cooking to create a thick coal bed.

  2. In a Dutch oven hanging over the fire, or on the grill, sweat the onions and garlic in the lard until soft.

  3. Add all remaining ingredients except greens and bring to a boil.

  4. Add the greens and let them cook down slightly, seasoning with a little salt. Put the lid on the Dutch oven (place a few coals on top of the lid if you’re cooking over fire). Simmer the greens until tender, about 2 hours.

  5. Season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar if necessary.

  6. Let rest off the heat until cool enough to eat.

Recipe from chef Joe Schafer of King + Duke in Atlanta, Georgia.