Happy Thanksgiving! Well, the dry-brined turkey turned out great. It’s funny, because after Thanksgiving each year, I think to myself that I should roast a turkey (small one) more than just once a year since it is so easy. But I never do…
Anyways, this year two other families joined us and everyone’s children are getting bigger. And they have started bringing their girlfriends/boyfriends as well, which is new. There were six “kids” this year, three college freshman, and three in high school – they really do grow up so fast!
This year, I’m repeating the dry brine technique that I used last year. It requires that the salted turkey rest uncovered overnight in the fridge. Sounds strange, but it works and it’s safe. Plus, it’s much easier than the wet brine technique, and I think it tastes (and looks) much better.
But don’t take just my word for it… some LA Times staff members did a test of the “Judy Bird” technique, and they agree that dry brine is the way to go:
On the days I am working at the office, I’ll usually take a walk at lunchtime. It’s nice to get some fresh air, a bit of sun, and also peruse the food truck options for the day. And, of course, it’s even better when we have nice weather such as today. 🌞 I’m really thankful that my work has a nice place to walk!
It was a beautiful sunny day, so I went out for a little bird-watching in nearby Liberty Hill and ultimately ended up at Doeskin Ranch, which is in the Balcones Canyonlands. There are several trails here, ranging from easy to moderate (although listed as Difficult on the map), and I figured I would take my time on the trails, stop a bunch and look for birds.
I started with the Rimrock Trail, then took the Shin Oak Trail, then hit the Creek Trail on the way back to the car. The Rimrock Trail was the most challenging because of the elevation gain and switchbacks, but it’s nothing to be overly worried about. Just take your time and soak in the views and you’ll be fine. I had some great weather with temperatures in the low 70s but it might be more challenging in the summer months. I didn’t bring water with me on the hike, but make sure to bring a bottle or Camelbak if you hike in the summer!
The trails at Doeskin Ranch are really nice, winding their way through large trees, over large stones in the small creek, up to a nice plateau with some great view of the Texas Hill Country all along the way. A nice touch is the self-guided walking tour of Creek Trail where you can learn a bit of history about Doeskin Ranch and the surrounding area. It’s very cool!
If you live in the Austin area, I definitely recommend coming out to Doeskin Ranch and checking it out. It’s free, kid-friendly, and very clean. Just make sure to bring water, because there’s none available at the ranch.
And I mentioned that I wanted to do some bird-watching. Well, I didn’t spot anything worth noting! Disappointing, but oh well. I just started birding so I can’t expect much. 😊