Poke Salad | Classic Southern | Recipe | Faye Thompson | @southerncooking


Buy me a coffee if you enjoy this channel.

Title: Classic Southern Poke Salad Recipe

Quote by a famous chef: “Southern Poke Salad is a beloved classic dish that has been enjoyed for generations in the South. It’s a perfect example of how simple ingredients can come together to create something truly delicious.” – Emeril Lagasse

History of Recipe:
Poke salad has a long history in the Southern United States, where it is a popular dish made with the leaves of the pokeweed plant. The plant grows wild in many parts of the South, and has been used for centuries as a food source. The leaves of the pokeweed plant are harvested when they are young and tender, and then cooked to make poke salad. The dish is a traditional staple of Southern cuisine, and is often served with bacon and onions.

Difficulty Level: Easy


1 gallon of tender poke leaves
6 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp bacon grease
Chopped onion or green onions and/or bacon (optional)
Equipment Required:

Kettle or large pot
Preparation Time: 30 minutes


Cut out the large stems from the poke leaves and wash them.
Put the leaves in a kettle of water, making sure there is enough water to cover them. Cook for 15 minutes over medium-high heat.
Drain the leaves in a colander and wash with cold water at least once more.
Squeeze out all the water from the leaves.
In a bowl, mix together the salt, black pepper, and beaten eggs.
Add the bacon grease and mix thoroughly.
Pour the egg mixture into a skillet and cook until done.
Optional: Add chopped onion or green onions and/or bacon on top.
Cooking Tips:

Make sure to remove all the large stems from the poke leaves before cooking.
Wash the leaves thoroughly with cold water to remove any dirt or debris.
Squeeze out all the water from the leaves before adding the egg mixture.
Use bacon grease for added flavor.
Cooling Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4-6

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 223
Fat: 17g
Carbohydrates: 4g
Protein: 14g
Recipe Notes:

Make sure to only use young and tender poke leaves, as the older leaves can be tough and bitter.
The berries of the pokeweed plant are poisonous, so be careful when harvesting the leaves.
This recipe is traditionally served hot, but can also be enjoyed cold as a salad.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Substitutions and Variations:

Instead of bacon grease, you can use butter or vegetable oil.
Add chopped garlic or red pepper flakes for extra flavor.
Use spinach or other greens instead of poke leaves.
Storage and Reheating Instructions:

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To reheat, simply microwave or heat in a skillet until heated through.
Keywords: Southern, Poke Salad, Pokeweed, Bacon, Onion, Eggs.

0:00 Intro
0:14 Welcome message, special guest Caroline Ferguson
1:32 Ingredients and Directions for preparing Poke Salad
14:00 Presentation
14:18 Photos
14:45 Outro


The fact that this is my most popular recipe on this channel intrigues me somewhat. Although I genuinely enjoy eating poke salad, it is not one of my most frequently requested meals. My homemade chicken and dumplings are frequently requested by family and friends. Rarely does someone request that I prepare them pokeweed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty good. Simply put, not many people ask for it. Some of my closest pals actually refuse to consume pokeweed. They simply are unaware of what they are missing. I suppose people’s preferences for food at the table differ from the popularity of recipes on the Internet.





  1. Oh, I want to tell you we have a special guest today. This is my youngest granddaughter, Caroline Ferguson. And we're so glad to have her. And she's going to help us do a couple of recipes today. We're going to do the poke salad. And then we're going to do a salmon recipe. And that's more her food than it is mine. Caroline, no, I do. This is the first time we've seen each other in a year. I want to brag a little bit about my granddaughter. Caroline is a student at Stanford. And she is doing a Ph.D. degree there. And you'll finish it up this summer, is that right?

    That's the plan. Oh, great. We're so proud of her. OK, we're going to get on the show you how to get your poke salad ready to cook. Well, Mom, first I want to ask you, where can I find poke?

    Polk is found in the wild. You find it a lot in the delta of Arkansas. It's all over. The farmer sure knows about it. And it gets to become essential because it multiplies really fast. And it's one of your early greens that comes out in the spring. So that would be one of the first green recipes that we'd cook would be poke salad. It has a berry on it called Polk salad berries. And used to when we were a kid, we get those berries and mash them up and they ink out of them. Because we didn't always have them. We didn't have ink when we grew up seeing. And we draw pictures and stuff with it, you know.

    But not eat it.

    Oh, yes, we did it.

    You can eat the berries too.

    No, no, not the berries, just the leaves. That's the leaf. When it's young. When it's young. When it's young. That's right. You can't eat it when it gets old. Even when this is young, it still can be toxic.

    What it is, it's a secret of how you cook it.

    You cook it and you strain the water off of it. You cook it the second time. Some people cook it three times. And I cook it for about 15 minutes and then I'll take the water and drain it. And then I'll cook it until it's tender. And then we drain it again and wash it. You wash it real good and squeeze it dry. So we'll go through that process later. I have eaten this all my life.

    Never had any problem with it. When we were young, we were taught how to handle it. You know, we picked the berries and mashed them and made ink out of them. But we knew better than to eat them.

    And I brought one of the stems that has not been cleaned. So I could show you what it looks like. This is about the age that you need to pick it or maybe a little smaller. We will just cut the top out of that. And if you, when you clean it, you won't take any bad leaves. Like this is a bad leaf. You don't want to use that. You don't want to use that one or this one. And if the stem is very big, don't say the stem either. Just cut that biggest stem off. And that's the part you would cook right there.

    That doesn't need to be growing much over 10 inches tall when you harvest it.

    This is a poke salad that has already been cleaned and is ready to cook. It's been washed thoroughly. You usually have this out on the back, line of my property.

    Caroline, you've never cooked Polk Salad before.

    I've never cooked Polk.

    On the other side, we're going to. We have put water to just barely cover the pork salad. We're going to cook this for 15 minutes. Now, this looks like it looks like a lot of Polk Salad, but that will cook down to very little. It won't be anything as much as it looks like it is. So we're just going to put a top on that. We're going to cook this for about 15 minutes. You're going to boil it. Then we're going to take it over and put it in the colander and strain it and get all the water off and then do that again. And then we'll cook it till it's tender.

    But Caroline, tell us a little bit about yourself. What are you doing? And I don't have enough education to understand what this Ph.D.'s all about. Oh, sure. You do. Well, I study the role of women in food systems. So I'm really interested in women who gather food from the wild, like poke or fish or mushrooms or whatever and feed their families and communities and make an income from it.

    Tell them about the time you spent on Palau Island.

    Yes, a lot. And you harvested cucumbers, the live cucumbers. Sea cucumbers. Sea cucumbers. Now, we can fuse with cucumbers, which are delicious and not genetically related at all. Sea cucumbers are these little blobs. They're very uncharismatic animals. But they have powerful healing properties. They can regenerate up to half their bodies. They can regenerate all of their internal organs. And so they're used in traditional Chinese medicine and in a lot of other kinds of medicines. And that makes them really expensive, really lucrative. So I'm really interested in how these women are collecting sea cucumbers for their families, for food. And then all of a sudden, you have this market come in paying tons of money for these things.

    So what happens to that system when that happens?

    Well, did you get a grant to start a hatchery farm there? We did. We're farming sea cucumbers now. Well, that's wonderful. Yes. I'm so glad to hear about that. Well, this has been cooking for about 15 minutes. Oh, they're right. Green. We're going to take this off and put it over here in the colander and drain it. See what we're doing is draining this.

    We're going to wash this real well. I got some cold water going over there. And then we're going to put it back in the pot, cover it with water, and cook it until it's tender. It won't take that long for it to get tender, because we put these greens when we got it as real young and tender. So we won't take that long. We have washed this in cold water. We want it to drain really well. But next time we will do this, we will wash it a little bit more in squeeze it dry. So it won't take long to get tender. See, it's already getting tender already. So you're being really careful to cook it a couple of times because of the bitterness and content? It will taste bitter if you don't do that. There are a lot of people who don't like it. They don't know how to cook it. What you can do, Caroline, you can, when this gets tender and wash it real good and squeeze all the water out, we put it in a, we put scrambled eggs, we put it with eggs and scramble it up. Then you can have a choice of cooking onions with it, or bacon, when you get through, you sprinkle a little bacon over it. And I think you'll like it.

    You never ate it before.

    I've never had a reality before.

    I think you'll like it. I've been cooking this for years. And you know, sometimes when it's real plentiful like I told you, don't have much back there this year, but we'll cook it and put it in a freezer. And the stage you put it in a freezer is the second cooking. When you get it washed and squeezed right, you put it in a zip-lock bag and freeze it. And then all you have to do is take it out and mix the eggs or whatever you want with it.

    We're going to test this and see how tender it is. It's been cooking for 20 minutes. Now, it cooked for 15 minutes and we've washed it. And now it's going to cook for 20 minutes. And I'll believe it's tender enough for the old thing. Don't you think that's okay? What am I looking for? That's tender. Don't you think that's fine? Like the consistency of collard greens.

    OK, we're going to put this in a colander and we're going to wash it again. We're going to go on cold water over it and wash it. And then we'll squeeze the old liquid out of it after we wash it well. This is the most important thing about cooking pork salad you have to cook it right and be sure and wash it. If you don't wash it, it has a sort of bitter taste to it. And I think that's what a lot of people do. They don't like it. They don't cook it right. So we've been eating this stuff all our lives, so. I'm going to get in there. I'll let you do it. Is it hot? Is it still hot? It's good, it's all right. So it's about the consistency of really cooked spinach.

    Yeah. It falls apart a little bit.

    You know, some people cook spinach with eggs like this.

    I guess I've had spinach and eggs. I think that is ready to use, squeeze that dry. You don't get all the water out of it you can. It made more and I thought it was going to look. You got quite a bit of it, hadn't you?

    That was about a gallon of green ones. I think that's about enough, Caroline. Do you think that?

    I think so.

    Just leave it in the colander for right now. All right. We're going to have to brown our onions. Look, you need to wash your hands. So we've got bacon grease from bacon. Because we're going to have bacon that we have cut up over here and at the end of the thing, you can serve this on top of it. So this is bacon we cook, the dripping from it, that we cook. So now we're going to put onions in it. Okay. All of them? All of them. It's about, would you say, half a cup or more?

    Let's see what you do.

    So you can do it with those eggs if you want to. There it is. I think these onions are ready. Now we're going to put on our Polk salad. Just put it in there to taste, that's fine. That's all you need to do. Now we've added our Polk salad to the onions and now

    Stir it up, mix it real good, and then we'll do about through. Now, what temperature is still down this whole time, ma'am? It's on about medium-high. Medium-high. You know, really, this was a pretty quick and easy recipe.

    That's delicious.

    It is good. That's you got to make this. That's good. That's something best green, I mean. That's so good. You know, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I like it a lot better actually than even collards or kale or any of the more popular greens.

    Absolutely. Every dish is this delicious. I know. Let me hear. I know a lot of people like weed, but this is really good weed. It's funny.

  2. You find it down in Mississippi. Wash it seven times before cooking. Cook for 15 minutes, drain and repeat. Third time drain water and squeeze dry. Cook again with bacon until tender. That's the way my Grandma taught me. Poke Sallet and fried chicken for Sunday in the South dinner.

  3. I cook this with spinach. Because it is so close to the real thing, I serve it as a poor man's Polk salad.
    I'm from Alabama, but live in Florida.
    So not too often can you find real Polk.
    I actually just cook it the same way you do. Just like my Mom.

  4. I love your continued use of this great plant. Even in a drought like we have had this year I had poke that grew well on my huglekulture berms. It was so dry that very little poke grew around the neighborhood though. I have brought my use of poke into the modern era. I too freeze portions of well cooked poke and then I use them in green smoothies with fruit and other greens!

  5. Poor grandma probably doesn't know he granddaughter is politically a capitalism hating, freedom hating, white hating, America hating radical Leftist who wants to tear down everything Grandma loves and was posting about that very thing on Twitter just a month before this video.

  6. I'm glad to see that I've been doing it right! Love it with bacon and vinegar. We took our grandkids out to pick last week and they had so much fun. They also liked it after we cooked it. I also like to freeze it so we can have more after the season is over. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Man, this old lady is handling this American Pokeweed with no problem. For many, me included, handling raw Pokeweed will cause an intense rash and blisters similar to poison ivy or poison oak. To eat Pokeweed you have to double boil it to remove the poison.