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4 qt vs 5 qt vs 6 qt braiser

  • apfb Oct 21, 2007 12:08 PM
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I'm looking to buy a braiser, 4 qt or more volume. For most homes (4 in our family), is 4-qt enough? Or, is it better to get a 5 or 6-qt one? A typical use for a braiser-- broil meat or fish under broiler, deglaze pan juices and then quick braise vegetables in same pan juices. I'd also like to roast a butterflied chicken in the braiser, then use the braiser to make gravy or other kind of sauce from the remaining pan juices.

I also really like to brown meat for stews, roasts, etc... under the broiler instead of on the stove top. It's less messy. Therefore, should I get a braiser with the longest diameter?

Main contenders:
- 4-qt Staub braiser http://www.cutleryandmore.com/details...
- 5-qt Le Creuset buffet casserole http://www.cutleryandmore.com/details...
- 6-qt All-Clad buffet casserole http://www.cutleryandmore.com/details...

Thank you for any suggestions.

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  1. Go for a little larger than you think you will need. The Staub is priced better than the LC and enameled cast iron will work better and clean easier than the AC stainless steel as well as save you $

    1. Of the three, price aside, I'd go with the 5 qt LC option. I definitely concur with scubadoo97 that the enameled cast iron is superior to the stainless steel for braising. The larger size will help with the chicken roasting.

      1. I love and am addicted to LeCreuset. I also have All Clad pots/pans (though not the one that you have listed) and while I have 4 various LC enameled cast iron pieces, I'd gladly trade in my All Clad for more LC.

        Guess I don't need to point out that I'd go for the LC! But, I have the 5-qt Le Creuset buffet casserole, and I get much more use out of my 5 qt. round dutch oven. I just find that the higher sides on the dutch oven are more versatile. Whether it's for browning meat with little mess or braises that require a fair amount of liquid, to me, that's what I'd choose.

        1. I think you may be disappointed in using either of those cast iron pans under a broiler. The enamel on the outside tends to be more easily stained at very high temps, as does the interior. At normal baking temps the cast iron does fine, but high temps seem to result in splatters being fused into (?below) the surface...

          Another concern is that under broiler the dark interior of the Staub may become "superheated" -- I've singed more than a few pot holders wrestling a big Staub 7 quart oval "French Oven" out of the heat. Under the broiler that thing would be like grabbing something out a blast furnace!

          For your intended use I think SS will be more durable and practical.

          1 Reply
          1. re: renov8r

            Yeah you are correct to point out that under high heat and broiler use the enamel can stain where as the stainless can be cleaned with bar keepers friend. My enameled cast iron pot took a beating in the cosmetic dept. after using it for baking no knead breads

          2. I have a 4-quart All-Clad braiser. I bought it not because I needed it, but I coveted it. I just thought it was a gorgeous hunk of cookware. I'm surprised at how often I use it. I often cook meals for 4 in it, but not regularly. If I were going to cook for four, and especially if I wanted leftovers, I wouldn't hesitate to go for the 6 quart.

            I've never put mine under the broiler, so have no idea how that might work, but aren't these pans a bit deep to be broiling meat in? I have a gas, under-the-oven broiler and I don't think I could brown meat in a pan that is 2-3/4 or 3 inches deep, as are these.

            Considering what you want to do with these pans, I'd take a careful look at the difference between the top and bottom dimensions. The LC, for instance, seems quite a bit narrower on the bottom than on the top and may not be the best pot for roasting a butterflied chicken.

            1. Thanks for all the thoughtful comments.

              Re. using a casserole under the broiler-- I routinely use the AC SS petite braiser (10", 2 qt) to broil small amounts of fish, steaks. Then I deglaze the pans and braise greens in the same pan. For 4-5 pieces of fish, I've used the AC SS saute pan (10.5", 3 qt) to broil and then use the caramelized bits and juices to cook vegetables afterwards on the stovetop.

              Re. using LC or Staub under broiler-- I've never tried using any LC piece under the broiler. The white enamel inside would probably stain really badly. I had the idea to use an enameled cast iron pan under the broiler since LC came out with the oblong grill pan (13" diameter) with a black enameled interior which they advertised as broiler safe. Both LC and Staub claim that the enamel is broiler safe. The hot pans would burn through any pot holders?

              I have an infrared broiler, and I frequently preheat the AC SS pans under the broiler while heating up the broiler. Then I put the meat into the hot pan and under the broiler. So far with AC SS pans, clean-up has been pretty easy.