Like the "liquor" from oysters, "likker" is precious and full of flavor (especially for dunking cornbread). It is the marriage of a broth made of simmering meat (typically pork, but really most any flavorful scraps will do) , a bit of onion, and in my case a hot pepper with a large quantity of greens. What starts out as a gigantic sink full of never ending collards cooks down into a slurpy, heady, delicious "mess of greens".
Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking suggests using salt pork, streak o' lean, smoked neck, or other cured pork. I had a nice amount of hog jowl left from Hoppin' John and I wasn't about to let it go to waste. I couldn't have been happier with the result. The well cooked pork slices were like buttah after a long simmer. WARNING: highly addictive, add a few extra slices for the cook.
Yup, hog jowl.
Hog Jowl is the cheek meat of the piggie that has been smoked and cured. The cheek meat is tough due to all that chewing muscle, but after the smoking and curing, it's delectable. You can use jowls as you would bacon. I fry it crisp for breakfast with an egg and biscuit. I use it to flavor soups and stews. It's wonderful for larding meatballs or meatloaves. It was an excellent lubricant for my Christmas Day country pate as well! A true perk to living in Charleston is the availability of hog jowl at the local supermarket. A good butcher or market can easily order this for you. It can be frozen, so get enough to keep you in jowls for a while.
You now have A Mess of Greens with Pot Likker (pg. 206 in Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking). Yay!
You can strain the greens and save the Likker for stock, or serve together with a savory cornbread for dunking. I gilded the lily and added rendered bits hog jowl as garnish. You can see the bits of meltingly tender jowl that stewed away with the greens as well as the crispy bits in the pic. Sigh.
This makes, as Ms. Dupree would say, "a gracious plenty" of greens that can be frozen.