Smoked Turkey Collards

A Great Side Dish For Thanksgiving, or any time!

Greens On Plate

Greens, greens, I love some greens, on the far side of the hill! Yes, the New Christie Minstrels said it best back in the fabulous sixties, in one of the best songs about greens ever recorded. Wait, what? The song wasn’t about collard greens? Well, as far as I’m concerned there should be a great number of songs touting the virtues of collard greens.

The plan was to post a Thanksgiving pulled pork recipe, but it wasn’t quite at 100% so I decided to work on it a bit longer and post one of the side dishes, which was 100%. The side dish of which I speak is smoked turkey collard greens. I know the trendy green these days is kale, but I have to say, my favorite of all greens are collards. I understand that kale is on the way out, to be replaced by some other trendy green. Chard? Dandelion? Turnip? Whatever is the flavor of the moment, I am pretty sure that collard greens will always be my favorite. I can’t say for sure if it the greens themselves or the way they are prepared that fuel my obsession, but the juice, or “pot liquor” as it is known, is the tasty elixir that makes this dish one of the tastiest.

Smoked Turkey

Traditionally, this is made with ham hocks, but to “Thanksgiving” this puppy up a bit, and also just because they are dang tasty, I used smoked turkey thighs.

I used about 2-1/2 pounds of collard greens, with stems still attached.

Start out by removing the stems from the greens. Grip the stem with one had, place  the other hand at the base of the leaf. Pull on the stem and zip off the leaf. Place in a large bowl or sink. Fill with water and soak 15-20 minutes to remove all the schmutz, of which there will be plenty. Grab a stack of leaves, and roll them up like a “see-gar”. Slice the roll in about 1/2″ strips until all the greens are sliced.

Greens Stacked

The dirt and whatnot will sink to the bottom, so remove the leaves from the water fairly gently so as not to jostle the water too much.

Heat up some oil in the pressure cooker. Add in some diced onion, BAM!, and sauté until translucent. Plop in the garlic and sauté for another minute.

Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

Greens With Top

Put the greens in the pot. It is best to use your largest pressure cooker, which in my case would be my 7 litre Kuhn Rikon, but since my KR was at the time housing a 6-pound pork butt, it was up to my Instant Pot to pick up the slack and cook my greens.

If your greens fill your pot past the maximum line, I usually put any top that fits fairly well on top of my cooker and steam the greens until they are below the max line. This usually takes just a couple of minutes.

When the greens are down to a manageable level, put in a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of brown sugar, some salt and pepper and a shake of crushed red peppers.

Greens Turkey On Top

Top the greens with a couple of smoked turkey thighs.

Lock the top on the pressure cooker, bring to high pressure, adjust heat to maintain high pressure if using a stovetop model. Set the time for 25 minutes.

Greens Turkey Cooked

When time is up, immediately remove from heat. If using an electric pressure cooker, immediately remove the inner pot of the cooker.

Take the turkey thighs and place on a plate or cutting board.

Turkey Thighs Plate

Let them cool for 5 minutes or so and with a fork remove the meat from the bones. Remove most of the skin but it’s fine to leave a little. It is where most of the flavor is, don’t you know.

Turkey Shredded

Now, take that tasty turkey and blend it back in with the greens.

Pour into a serving bowl, or if you are serving later, put in a sealable container and refrigerate.

Smoked Turkey Greens Cooked

Makes a tasty side to any BBQ meal, and also a great addition to any Thanksgiving spread.

Smoked Turkey Collards
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: southern
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 servings
A turkey-ized take on the Southern classic, perfect for a holiday side dish
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2-1/2 pounds collard greens (weight with stems), stems removed and chopped into ½" strips
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 rounded tablespoon brown sugar
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • A sprinkle of crushed red pepper (around ⅛ teaspoon)
  • 2 smoked turkey thighs
  1. With the pressure cooker pot on medium high heat, place 2 tablespoons oil
  2. When oil looks shimmery, add the onions and sauté until translucent
  3. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute
  4. Pour the chicken stock into the pot
  5. Place the greens into the pressure cooker
  6. If it is above the maximum limit line, put any lid that will fit on top for a couple minutes and let steam until the greens are below the maximum line
  7. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper
  8. Place the smoked turkey thighs on top
  9. Lock lid on pressure cooker and set time for 25 minutes
  10. When time is up, do a quick release and immediately remove the inner pot from the pressure cooker, if using electric
  11. Remove the turkey to a plate, let cool for 5 minutes or so, then use a fork to remove the meat from the bones. Discard most of the skin, but you can leave a little of it.
  12. Add the turkey meat back into the greens and mix with a spoon
  13. Move to a serving bowl and serve


Pressure Cooker Pulled Turkey

Pulled Turkey with a South Carolina style mustard BBQ Sauce


The Carolinas seem to have more regional BBQ styles than anywhere else in the U.S. From the tangy vinegar-based sauce of North Carolina, to the mustard-based (but still tangy) sauce of South Carolina. But there are also differences as you travel from East to West in these two states as well.

Since I used a North Carolina vinegar sauce on my Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork recipe, I moved a little further south for this recipe by using a South Carolina Mustard-based sauce.

This is still quite vinegary, but also quite tasty. If you want less of a vinegar kick, you could add a little more honey (start with an extra tablespoon and go from there).

I was originally going to do this with pork, but the turkey breast was cheaper so I thought I would try something a little different.


I bought a half turkey breast complete with skin and bone. For most recipes I would have left it intact, but in this case it works better by removing the skin and bone so you can get a nice brown crust on both sides. You could always buy a boneless breast, but my local market didn’t have any at the time.


I think I should start having a contest to guess which ingredient is missing from the ingredients photos for each recipe, since there seems to be at least one thing missing every time. This time, if you guessed Worcestershire Sauce you would be correct! And as a bonus, I didn’t have the beer in the photo either. Oh, or liquid smoke! Wow, I really dropped the ball this time!


It was Friday evening and I was feeling lazy, so instead of putting a rub together, I just used seasoned salt (I use Penzey’s 4S). It worked just fine.


The turkey breast was about 3 pounds including the skin and bone, so I am guessing it ended up being about 2 pounds. This could easily serve four, but the S.O. and I liked it so much we finished the entire thing. Of course, afterwards we spent the evening in a food coma wracked with guilt for overindulging while watching reruns of “Monk”.


I served it with a Cole Slaw with bacon and homemade mayo (I just had to get some pork in the meal somehow, didn’t I?).


This would also be great on sandwiches but I served it on plates.

Pressure Cooker Pulled Turkey
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Pulled turkey with South Carolina style mustard BBQ Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2-3 lb turkey breast
  • ½ cup beer
  • ½ cup yellow mustard
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoons Liquid Smoke (or to taste)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Mix together mustard, vinegar, honey, molasses, worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, celery seed, hot sauce, liquid smoke and salt and pepper (mix with a whisk or blender)
  2. Rub turkey with seasoned salt
  3. Over high heat, brown the turkey breast in the two tablespoons of oil
  4. When browned on both sides, remove turkey from pan
  5. Lower heat to medium, then add beer to deglaze, scraping up the browned turkey bits from the bottom
  6. Pour in the mustard mixture and stir
  7. Add turkey back in
  8. Put lid on pressure cooker and turn heat to high and bring to high pressure
  9. When high pressure is reached, turn down heat to maintain high pressure and set timer for 40 minutes
  10. When time is up, let pressure come down naturally
  11. When pressure is down, remove turkey to platter
  12. Place pan with sauce over medium-high heat and bring to a low boil to reduce
  13. While sauce is reducing, use two forks to pull apart turkey
  14. When sauce has thickened to desired consistency, add turkey back in and stir to coat turkey entirely with sauce
  15. Remove from heat and serve