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The best Dutch Ovens - Printable Version

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The best Dutch Ovens - The Cast Iron Chef-Chef M - 07-03-2009 08:33 AM

When I travel around to do seminars and Dutch Oven demos. I am always asked "what size of Dutch oven should I get" and "who makes the best Dutch Oven". To answer the first question, by far and a away the best size to buy is a 12" DO. The reason is: You can cook for as few as two people and as many as eight. Also 90% of all DO recipes and recommendations are designed around using a 12" pot. In my opinion, a 10" pot is great if it's only 2-3 people you are cooking for but for me falls short too often. I do however use a 10" pot often for artisan bread because it will bake that shape of bread perfectly. A 14" pot is great for large crowds but does not cook as well as a 12". Also the weight is a huge factor since a 14" can weigh 10 pounds more than a 12". When I cater events now, I will bring all of my 12" pots and leave my "Big Boys" at home. To answer the second question: by far and away the best DO on the market is the Lodge but that honor also comes with a hefty price tag. A new pre-seasoned Lodge DO will cost around $75.00. The reason they are superior is that they are injection molded and Lodge has extremely high standards of Quality control. On the other end of the spectrum, the market is full of Tex-Sport and other nameless Chinese made pots. You can usually pick them up for around $20.00 but it is a crap shoot on quality. Filling the void in the middle are the Camp Chef pots. A pre-seasoned Camp Chef will retail for about $40.00. Although they are outsourced, they have strict Quality control and specifications and generally are a very good oven. If we look at Dutch Ovens like cars: Lodge is the Cadillac, Camp Chef is the Honda Accord, and all the others fit somewhere with a Yugo (I apologize to any Yugo drivers out there, though I suspect most of us probably couldn't fit in one anyway!) For me although the Lodge is the best DO, Do I gain so much more performance that it's worth double the price of a Camp CHef? For me, no. I currently own equal amounts of Lodge and Camp Chef pots. I also have a couple of Tex-Sports that I loan out to the local scout troop for campouts (so that if it comes back ruined I won't be depressed. The main thing to look for when buying any Dutch Oven is to make sure that you don't have more than 1/8" of play in the lid and that the bottom of the lid amd the top of the pot have a tight seal with a tolerance of 1/16" or less. This may mean opening a box in the store to look but trust me, it will be worth it in the end. Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

Re: The best Dutch Ovens - T - 07-03-2009 08:55 AM

Thanks for sharing Matt. Gonna do a loaf of bread today if I get around to it, tried last night but we got slammed.

- Phred - 07-04-2009 06:20 PM

Hi Matt,

We are planning on having a Dutch Oven party in a couple of weeks. I have been collecting various recipes through the years but haven't really hit on a "great" chicken recipe other than fried chicken which we really like. Any suggestions?



Re: The best Dutch Ovens - T - 07-04-2009 07:05 PM

Yo, I promised Stirling that I would make him a biggin so here it is.

[Image: P1030824640x480.jpg]

[Image: P1030825640x480.jpg]

This got hit so bad. The tops finish was nice. Nothing like fresh bread and real butter? I know I'll be knocking out some more next week.

Re: The best Dutch Ovens - Three4Que - 07-05-2009 09:32 AM

Dang T you're killing me. That looks great, and I'll bet it tasted even better!!!!

Re: The best Dutch Ovens - sampson - 07-05-2009 04:02 PM

Sweet brother T, now how about a recipe?