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Spicy Southern Collards w. Smoked Turkey

Another brainchild of my youngest child who dreams of appearing on Hot Ones, these Spicy Southern Collards are your pretty traditional soul food collards, but with the addition of a Carolina Reaper pepper.

In case you missed it the last time I explained, Carolina Reaper peppers are the hottest pepper in the world. They’re over 200x hotter than a jalapeno – which is what I use in my regular collards – so it should go without saying that Spicy is the name of this recipe for a reason!

This Spicy Southern Collards recipe is very flexible, and you’ll need to be as well to get the most out of it. Some collard greens are more bitter, or tougher than others. You may need to adjust the cooking time or the amount of sugar, salt, or vinegar.

Taste as you go for best results. If you’re looking to make a pot of collard greens without the 2 million Scoville units just omit the pepper, or try the jalapeno. I include the seeds and membranes, but strip those out if you need to reduce the heat but still want a lil’ bit.

You can watch me prepare them on IGTV here along with some other Carolina Reaper creations.

Please forgive the photo by the way, I meant to take individual photos of these collards (and the Carolina Reaper Mac & Cheese) posted previously, but I forgot. Someone remind me to do that next time I make these.

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Spicy Collards w. Smoked Turkey

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  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


It’s hot, too.


Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion (diced)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 23 smoked turkey necks (fully cooked)
  • 1 pound fresh collard greens (washed, stems removed, chopped roughly into the desired size)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 Carolina Reaper pepper
  • water (as needed)


  1. Melt your butter over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Add onions and cook until they start to become translucent.
  2. Add the broth, carolina reaper pepper, and smoked turkey.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat until it’s a low boil. Let cook uncovered for about 45 minutes.
  4. Remove turkey and pepper.. When the turkey has cooled, remove the meat from the bones and set that aside.
  5. Stir the seasoned salt, sugar, black pepper, and vinegar to the broth, then add the collards. Stir to submerge, allowing the leaves to wilt down. If the broth reduced too much, add enough water to make sure the collards are almost covered.
  6. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Stir in the turkey meat, then continue to cook for another half hour to an hour, or until your desired tenderness is reached.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 120 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: American
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  • Janine
    July 27, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Do you leave the pepper while or cut it up?

    • María
      August 25, 2020 at 12:55 pm

      I leave it whole and usually remove it from the pot liquor or just serve around it.


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