Considering an enameled cast iron dutch oven, have ?'s

tammyinwvJune 6, 2012

I have been recently looking at Lodge and Tramontina enameled cast iron dutch oven. Price range for these are a little more affordable....maybe.

The only thing I have to roast in the oven has been a glass dish about 3" thick. Not ideal, especially when the top part of a roast cant be covered with liquid. The enameled pans sound very nice.That is if they dont stick too bad.

I was wondering how many of you think they are an important part of your kitchen cookware or not, and if many have experience in these cheaper brands. I have read that Tramontina was as good as Lodge, but that if warranty is needed, Lodge would pay for return where the other does not.


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I have two Le Creuset dutch ovens. They are, hands down, the best cookware I own. I use them for everything. Worth every penny.

Stores like Marshall's often will have a few LC's in stock -- they always have some kind of flaw, but it's inevitably minor and affects appearance only. They tend to be about half the price.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 4:53PM
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My stovetop dutch oven is an essential in my kitchen, but I don't have one that will go in the oven. I've been eyeing the Tramontina at WalMart prices for a while though. America's Test Kitchen has given it high marks and the price is certainly right. When I finally get around to it, I believe that is the one I'll get.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tramontina at WalMart

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 5:07PM
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I have a Le Creuset (about 4.25 qt) and a Lodge (about 6 qt). I love them both and would not want to do without at least one.

The knob on the lid cannot be heated past a certain point (425? 450?), but Le Creuset sells replacement knobs that will go in the oven with higher temps. I can just move it from the LC to the Lodge and back, depending on which is going in the oven.

Wow! That Tramontina at Walmart is a super bargain. If I needed another one, I'd snap that up!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 5:35PM
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I have 4 Le Cruset Dutch ovens....yes...I know....hanging my head...
Worth every penny!!
I have given lodge ovens to several people.....and they love them too....they are also very nice quality....not so sure about the Tramontina.
For $10 more, get the Lodge....
As for the knob.....think about how many times you put a pan in the oven hotter than 450.....the only time I do is for no-knead bread....and I have a metal knob for that.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 5:46PM
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Head to Tuesday Morning, or Ross or such. You can find Le Creuset at a decent price. You can also find Cuisinart and probably a few other brands for much less. I have the Cuisinart and it's been great and was about $30.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 9:56PM
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Do you guys have any trouble with the enameled cookware sticking? That is my big concern, that I will shell out $40 or more for something that will end up sticking

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 2:03AM
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Enameled cast iron isn't fully nonstick like teflon, but it's fairly stick-resistant. Most of the time you'll be cooking with liquid, and it's an easy cleanup.

A few years back Cooks Illustrated looked at various ECI dutch ovens, and ended up liking the $40 one at Target. Le Creuset and Staub are excellent and pricey, but some of the cheaper ones aren't bad--Lodge works fine as well. The only Le Creuset I have, I bought at TJMaxx as a 'second' because there was a slight defect in the enamelling of the lid. Didn't affect the performance at all.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 9:31AM
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What brand was that at Target/ the only one I noticed was a lodge.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 9:33AM
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To answer one of your original questions - no, a Dutch oven is not an important part of my kitchen cookware. It is not a part of it all since I don't own one.

I do have a nice selection of lidded casserole dishes ( mostly vintage Pyrex and Royal Worcester purchased at auctions) that can accommodate a chuck roast, pork shoulder or pile of veal shanks for braising or roasting.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 10:02AM
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I think the dutch oven recommended by Cooks Illustrated at Target was Chefmate. Last time I looked, it was no longer available.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 10:14AM
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I have a heavy molded (fruit shapes, I think ) round glass oven proof dish with the glass lid I have been using for roasting. It is only about 3" deep tho. Would you notice a difference in roasts cooked this way, verses the dutch oven?
I have to turn my meat over half way thru so the top part out of the liquid doesnt get dried out too much.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 10:18AM
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An enamelled cast iron dutch oven is a very important part of my cookware. There really is nothing else that can take it's place.
For example.....when making a stew, I brown the meat, add some onions and garlic....continue browning on the stove top, then add broth wine veggies. Then I can put it into a slow oven for a long cook or leave it on top of the stove.
What would you cook in it that might stick?

When roasting meat.....don't cover it with liquid....that' boiling or stewing the meat....put some liquid in the bottom of the pot and allow the meat to braise.

Yes you would notice a difference between your glass casserole and a cast iron dutch oven....because with the Dutch oven you would brown your meat on all sides, with some aromatics like onions, then add the liquid and put it into the oven.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 10:40AM
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I have never cooked with a dutch oven before, so not sure what all I would make in one. We do eat a lot of chicken,bbq etc. Does the cooking in sm amts of liquid kind of steam it?
Is there a difference in taste when using the DO?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 12:13PM
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The DO's strong point is its resistance to sudden temperature change. like Linda said, you might brown something on top of the stove, then put it in a slow oven to finish, knowing that it is gonna cook nice and slow and even.

As she said, it's good for braising, which is generally browning something and then finishing the cooking with just a little liquid. If you want to pursue that, you might look for the cookbook at the link; I've made a few recipes out of it, and they've been great.

Here is a link that might be useful: all about braising

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 12:29PM
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"---Is there a difference in taste when using the DO? --"

I MHO, no.

Taste of food is dependent on recipe, not on the material of the cooking vessel. If you are talking about texture of food, it is temperature dependent, Food cannot tell if the heat is coming from cast iron, glass, steel or ceramics. Heat is heat.

Before you make up your mind, go check out Aluminum Dutch ovens, and stainless steel Dutch ovens. The weight of a 8-quart cast iron Dutch oven with food inside weighs about ten tons.

Try putting a cast iron Dutch oven in a dishwasher.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 12:49PM
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My enameled dutch oven cleans up fine, and my plain old black Lodge has been a workhorse, I use it mostly for cooking outside and as a deep fryer and the enamelled one inside in the oven.

I don't use it very often, though, since I bought that 6 quart Nesco roaster and use it in place of the dutch oven for a lot of the braised dishes I used to do, such as short ribs, swiss steak, etc. Like Ruthanna, I have a couple of glass/pottery casseroles and they also get used more often than the DO, because they are a more convenient size, my enamelled DO is a 5 quart, the casseroles are 2 and 3 quart.

I'd give up the enamelled one before I'd give up the old Lodge, simply because I use it less and it takes up a LOT more room, not because I don't find it useful when I need it.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 1:10PM
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Well, in my opinion, cast iron does make food taste better. I've tested this out by cooking identical dishes such as a slow cooked beef stew in the in cast iron, the other in All Clad stainless. Hands down the cast iron was better. I've done the same "test" with chili. Cast iron wins, at least in my home.

There is a time and place for stainless steel, but for me it's for boiling pasta water, making stock, or steaming vegetables. I use both "regular" cast iron and enameled for most of my cooking. Enameled is good when simmering tomato sauce all day.

That said, there are cooks who make magic with stainless, carbon steel, and clay, so no offense meant.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 10:56PM
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sandy, I agree, I like some things better in cast iron. Chili, for example. The acidity of the tomatoes will leach some of the iron out of the pan and into the chili and ups your iron level when you eat it, so double bonus.

I always bake cornbread in my cast iron skillet because nothing else gives me the crust I want. Steaks get seared in a screaming hot cast iron skillet and nothing I've found works as well, plus it can go into the oven to finish cooking if I wish.

As for the cast iron Lodge dutch oven I've made everything from chili to beef stew in it. It's baked more batches of biscuits and cinnamon rolls over a campfire than I can count and with a quick rinse was ready to take on the Coke Chicken for supper. That's mostly when I'm camping, though.

I have three pans that I use a LOT. One is my nearly 40 year old no-name cast iron skillet, one is a stainless steel 3 quart pan and one is my big 8 quart Calphalon hard anodized soup pot. So I guess I'm an equal opportunity cook, each has their purpose.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 11:50PM
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I did buy the enameled cast iron DO by Lodge. I also have an old no name cast iron skillet I use occasionally. I could never figure out how to get rid of the black sooty mess when i wiped it before. But did a lot of research on them a few months ago, and the last few times I have used it, and got it ready to put away, I have noticed very little black. I know I had just about given up on them when I made a fried egg. it didnt stick, but came out looking kinda gray, not very appetizing. I havent tried the egg again yet tho. :)
I am trying to get away from the teflon. I know it isnt good for your health, and they never last anymore than a couple of yrs. I had one set that had lifetime warranty and did pretty good, I had them replaced once, then the company went out of business.
It was the reason i stated above that I was hesitant about buying the plain cast DO.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 7:35AM
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I made minestrone soup yesterday (or rather finished making it), and decided that I need a Dutch oven because it would not fit in my large sauce pan. I finished the soup in an 8 or 10 quart stock pot (I think it is 10 quart - it is fairly tall), and the soup took up less than half of the space inside. Therefore I decided that I could have made it in a 6 quart DO, and that should have been the right size. I need to measure my pans before I buy anything else.

DB does not eat beef or pork, and so the only meat I would put in a DO would be chicken or turkey, but I'm thinking that it might be worth it to use with turkey. If I make huge quantities of anything, I have to freeze parts of them and then remember to use them from the freezer. I do make soups that get quite large, however, especially the ones that are Indian style with garbanzos or lentils.

Tammy, what size did you buy, and how have you been using it since you bought it? Also, what would you do different, if anything?



    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 5:54PM
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Lars, I did end up buying the 6 qt Lodge enameled cast iron dutch oven. It is very heavy, but I love it. Things dont burn in it as quickly as the light weight pots. I am gradually getting away from non stick pans. I recently picked up an enameled skillet. Not cast iron. I just wipes clean like a dream and non stick. Will see how it holds up.As for the DO, I am glad I made the choice I did. I bought mine on sale at I have made chili,applesauce for canning, beef roast etc. It cleans up very easily. And since there is no bare cast iron, no need for special treatment. My mother made a boneless turkey breast in her DO and it turned out VERY moist. I also eat very little meat, but my family eat it.

I dont know if you can or not, but I have recently been canning chicken. I will do turkey too as I dont like turkey frozen after its cooked. It gets kind of a grainy texture. I bought chicken breast, some boneless some not when it was on sale. Cut chunks and placed into pint jars, small amount of water and salt, and canned them according to usda directions. It comes out fully cooked and ready to use.Very moist in its own broth. Great for quick meals such as chicken salad sandwiches, creamed chicken, etc.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:43PM
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Have enameled cast iron dutch oven purchased last year from Aldi and a roasting pan. I love them both. Clean out easily.

It got me thinking I should check there again this year. Well guess what there are in the ads now. Great prices!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Aldi Cast Enameled pots

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:58PM
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I was just getting ready to post that the enameled cookware is back at Aldi's this week. This is the time of the year they bring it back. So many good things have been said here about them. If you can't afford the le Creuset or other spendy brands - this is a good way to go.

Not to be overlooked in Aldi's ad this week are the clear Pyrex baking dishes - MADE IN AMERICA! I know others have voiced concern about Pyrex being made in China and exploding in ovens.

They come in sets of 3 glass baking dishes for $9.99. I got the rectangular ones - they also come in rounds. The largest is bigger than a 9x13 pan and is great for lasagna among other things. I got the same Pyrex set at Target 3 years ago for my Mom. I paid over $20. Her enameled lasagna pan had seen better days and she wanted a baking dish bigger than 9x13.

I might have to go back and get some additional Pyrex sets. We sponsor multiple families at work for Christmas. One of the top requested items is always cookware/bakeware of any kind.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 7:42PM
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Thanks Teresa...I was in such a hurry to post, I forgot to even look at the rest of the ad.
Great idea to get a few of items you mentioned for gift giving!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 7:44PM
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I bought a nice 8qt Dutch Oven from Costco says "Made in France" on the bottom, appears to be made by Staub if I had to guess. Got it for $79 and being Costco if anything happens to it pretty much for ever I can just take it right back for a full refund no questions asked.

Works great so far and for $79 cant beat it.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 2:56PM
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