Remove stems from collards. Wash leaves thoroughly; pat dry, and chop coarsely to equal 10 cups.
Combine water and next 6 ingredients (water through ham hocks) in an 8-quart Dutch oven or stockpot; bring to a boil. Add collards; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until collards are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Remove ham hocks from pan; let cool. Remove ham from bones, and finely chop; discard bones, skin, and fat. Add chopped ham to collard mixture; stir well. Cook over medium heat until thoroughly heated. Serve with hot pepper sauce, if desired.