The best Dutch oven for most situations is enameled cast iron Dutch ovens. The enameled fish is more durable than a seasoned cast iron Dutch oven and better suited for cooking soups and stews with a high liquid content which can break down seasoning. Enameled cast iron is better than ceramic dutch ovens due to it’s ability to retain heat better and distribute it well. Ultimately what you’re cooking will determine which Dutch oven is the best fit but if you have to pick only one type then the enameled cast iron Dutch oven is your most versatile pick.
The American-made Lodge line of enameled cast iron Dutch ovens is very well respected and Lodge stands behind their products. The pricing is extremely compelling when comparing with the premium Le Creuset and Staub brands.
Oval Dutch ovens tend to be a very versatile design for fitting in ovens and the 7-quart size is ideal for most applications.
The French brands may get you a slightly more stain-resistant and crack-resistant enamel but the cost difference doesn’t justify the marginal improvement.
Tramontina comes in roughly the same as the Lodge cast iron Dutch ovens. They are very well respected and can be found for very reasonable prices.
This enameled cast iron Dutch oven is also a 7-quart oval design and should prove to be a very capable and versatile design.
Lodge is a great American brand of cast iron cookware and their Camp Dutch Oven is a great choice. It’s design is inspired by the Paul Revere design with legs and a flat rimmed lid which are both ideal for positioning coals. The legs allow for more coals underneath while the flat rimmed lid allows for placing coals on top.
It’s available in several sizes to meet your camping needs and is very reasonably priced.
Lodge makes the list again with it’s Double Dutch Oven and Casserole that includes a lid that can double as a skillet. It’s a versatile option form a well respected brand and can be had at a very reasonable price point.
The classic dutch oven is pot that is traditionally made from cast iron with a heavy and tight fitting lid. In the 1700’s in Europe it was originally preferred to be made out of brass. Abraham Darby is credited with perfecting making dutch ovens from cast iron. He did so out of an effort to be able to produce them more cheaply since brass was more expensive that iron. Paul Revere is credited with the evolution of adding legs and a flat rimmed lid. The legs were added to allow more coals beneath the pot and the flat rimmed lid was added to help keep coals on top of the pot. Todays dutch ovens come in many sizes and shapes but the most common is a 6 quart oval in enameled cast iron.
Abraham Darby studied how the Dutch made their brass cooking pots and used what he learned in his efforts to convert the design to cast iron. When he patented his cast iron cooking pot it became referred to as a “Dutch” oven due to his knowledge gained studying the Dutch process.
A Dutch oven is ideal for braising meats, stews, soups, chili, vegetables, rice and more. It can also be placed in an oven for roasting. Generally it’s great for things that are slow-cooked. It’s not limited to that role but the traditional size and tight fitting lid are ideal for this purpose.
It’s ideal for slow cooking which means that it can be left unattended for extended periods. If you’re familiar with the electric crock pot then you should get the idea. Crock pots are basically dutch ovens with an electric heating element packaged with it. Both cast iron and ceramic versions are ideal for slow cooking because they heat up slowly and retain heat well. They also cook very uniformly. Their ability to retain heat is ideal for keeping foods warm for extended periods as well.
Generally they tend to be non-stick which is obviously ideal. They aren’t non-stick in the new-fangled Teflon way but they are semi non-stick from the enameled coating or seasoning on the cast iron varieties and the smooth finish of the ceramic varieties.
Basically yes. A Crock Pot is just a Dutch oven that’s been packaged with an electric heating element and a built in timer adjustment. They are nice in that they require even less attention than a traditional Dutch oven.
Like with all seasoned cast iron you want to limit exposure to water. It’s fine to rinse but don’t use soap or scrub to aggressively. You don’t want to remove the seasoning layer. Use some coarse salt as an abrasive if you need for removing carbon buildup.
Place your Dutch oven on your stove top filled with water. Boil the water and slowly add several spoonfuls of baking soda. Reduce the heat to a simmer and use a wooden spoon or other similar instrument to work at the stained areas.
The same process used for enameled cast iron applies to ceramic dutch ovens.
Paul Revere modified the earlier designed cast iron dutch ovens to include short legs and a flat rimmed lid. The legs help to allow more coals to be underneath and the flat rimmed lid is ideal for retaining more coals on top. When looking for a Dutch oven to be used when camping you’ll want to find one that is similar to the Paul Revere design.
Generally the thicker the better when it comes to cast iron Dutch ovens. Also, the more expensive the Dutch oven typically the better the enamel finish. A chipped or cracked enamel finish will cause problems during cooking. Cheap enameled Dutch ovens from China can be more unreliable than the fine French brands of Le Creuset or Staub. Tramontina is a very reasonably priced brand from Brazil. Lodge is a well respected American brand. The lid handle is the other element to keep in mind. You’ll want to make sure the handle material is capable of dealing with high heat so you can use your Dutch oven in the oven if you need.
You can be far less picky when it comes to seasoned cast iron Dutch ovens. The primary thing to pay attention to will be the thickness and uniformity of the thickness throughout the entire pot. The other point to pay attention to is the lid handle. Integrated handles that are part of the cast iron shouldn’t pose a problem but add-on handles made of a different material can be questionable in their ability to handle high heat if placed in an oven.
Umm, you came to the wrong web site for the answer to that question! Actually, while we don’t recommend ceramic Dutch ovens you’ll want to keep in mind the uniformity of the thickness of the pot and the lid composition. Ceramic Dutch ovens don’t always come with ceramic lids. Glass lids tend to be lighter and not seal as tightly when steam is trying to escape. You also want to ensure than any materials that are not made from ceramic are capable of withstanding the high temperatures of an oven.
Enameled cast iron Dutch ovens are the best option for most situations and a 7-quart oval design is the most versatile design. Enameled is better than seasoned cast iron since it is better suited for slow cooking things like soups and stews with a lot of water content that can break down the seasoning layer. Cast iron is preferred over ceramic for it’s ability to distribute heat evenly and retain the heat longer.
The French brands Le Creuset and Staub are excellent if you have the means but Lodge and Tramontina are nearly as good and drastically cheaper.
The Paul Revere design with legs and a flat rimmed lid is best for camping so coals can be better positioned.
I hope you’ve found this article informative and if you have any additional questions sound off in the comments below. Good luck and happy cooking!
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