Prepare the collards for cooking by cutting the large stems from the center of the leaves. Stack the leaves and cut them crosswise into 1-inch strips
Put 2 inches of water in a saucepan large enough to hold the raw collards (the leaves can be pushed down tightly and will wilt to about one-quarter volume as they cook). Add the ham hock or pork and bring the water to a boil. Add the collards and toss with tongs until the water returns to a boil and the leaves wilt down into the pan. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour, or until tender. Stir occasionally, checking to be sure there is enough liquid to prevent scorching. Taste the liquid and add salt if needed. Serve with buttermilk cornbread and hot sauce.
You can cook and freeze these in the summer to eat throughout the year. If the collards are homegrown, soak the leaves briefly in a salt-water brine made by adding 1/2 cup salt to enough water to cover the leaves.
Recipe adapted from Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen by Trisha Yearwood (c) Clarkson Potter 2008