When cooked low and slow, the tender ham hocks completely fall apart and infuse the collard greens with a savory, smoky flavor. Carefully remove the hocks before serving to make sure no bones remain.
Combine all ingredients in a 6-quart oval slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 9 hours. Carefully remove ham hocks and all bits of bone before stirring greens after cooking. Cool ham hocks, and thoroughly remove all fat and bone; return meat to slow cooker. Stir into greens, and serve.
Garlicky Collard Greens with Confetti Chowchow: Prepare recipe as directed, stirring 2 Tbsp. minced garlic (about 4 garlic cloves) into collard green mixture in slow cooker before cooking. Meanwhile, prepare the Confetti Chowchow: Place 1 cup each finely chopped sweet onion (2 1/2 oz.), red bell pepper (6 oz.), and yellow bell pepper (6 oz.) in a small saucepan. Add 1 seeded and finely chopped large jalapeño chile (1/4 cup) and 1/2 cup each water, distilled white vinegar, and fresh lemon juice (from 4 lemons). Then add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, and let stand until cool and vegetables are slightly softened, about 30 minutes. Serve Confetti Chowchow over collard greens.
Vegetarian Slow-Cooker Collard Greens: Omit ham hocks and change chicken broth to vegetable broth. Prepare recipe as directed, stirring 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika and 1 (15.5-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained, into collard green mixture in slow cooker before cooking. Serve with Confetti Chowchow, if desired.
Make it ahead: You can make the collard greens up to 2 days in advance. Refrigerate them in the slow-cooker insert. Allow the insert to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before returning it to the slow cooker to reheat the greens. (Immediately heating a chilled insert could cause it to crack.)