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Cast Iron Dutch Ovens - which brand best?

I am looking to purchase a non-enameled cast iron dutch oven in about the 7 quart range. Does anyone have any input/preferences? It seems that most people prefer the Lodge dutch oven but I thought I would run in by chowhound first.

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  1. Why would you prefer a non-enameled oven? The enameled ovens are much easier to clean, there is less sticking, etc. Sure the LeCreuset and Staub pots are very pricey, but there are many good and less expensive brands now available...and you can often find even the LeCreuset pots on sale. I have two LeC's and wouldn't trade them for anything.

    17 Replies
    1. re: josephnl

      The pure cast iron dutch ovens have thicker walls, are less brittle, and have better thermal characteristics than enameled cast iron. They will survive a fall to concrete when a Staub won't (personal experience.)
      After extensive seasoning, they are more non-stick.
      Considering the price difference, it is a no brainer.
      I would look for a used one, Max. The old brands like Griswold and McClary are very well made, often with nipples on the lid for self basting. They are smoothly finished rather than sand blasted like the Lodge or Asian models currently offered.

      1. re: jayt90

        Second on Lodge. Why would you get a non-enameled Lodge? Well, there's the obvious: a 7-quart Lodge Logic costs less than $40 on Amazon, as opposed to $260 for an equivalent-sized Le Creuset -- dunno about you, but I could sure use that extra $220 for other things right about now!

        I have used both plain and enameled cast iron in the past, and I don't have a single piece of enameled cast iron anymore, while I have a kitchen full of Lodge. I would argue the exact opposite as josephnl in terms of ease of cleaning and lack of sticking, and keeping it seasoned is nowhere near as hard as some would lead you to believe.

        As for the matter of finish that jayt90 brings up, the best way to get a smooth finish on a cast iron dutch oven is simply to use it: I have Lodge Logic pieces that are just a few years old that are all but indistinguishable from pieces we have that are decades old.

        As for the reactivity myth: well, yes, if you want to make Grandma's special family recipe of tomatoes and lemons boiled in red wine, cast iron is not the way to go. If you're making things that people would actually eat that have acidic ingredients in them, a few tomatoes or a little lemon juice or some wine will not ruin both the pot and the food, as some naysayers would have one believe.

        So basically, go for the Lodge and use it.

        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          I picked up a 6 qt. Lodge enameled oven from their colors line for $34.99 at Amazon. If you look, and are patient you can find similar deals. The quality is wonderful, and Good Housekeeping said it's comparable to Le Creuset which I have a lot of too. It's not that much more than the raw iron. No seasoning needed, no off tastes from the acid reacting with certain foods, no discolored sauces, no oiling, seasoning, problems with rust, no cleaning problems (everything soaks off), no ick factor from not being able to clean it with soap, and food residue left on it, no storing an oily oven. No worrying about the seasoning coming off and what you can, and can not cook in it. No worries about storing cooked food in it.

          Yes, when LC was the only game in town, and enameled ovens were $$$$ only, Lodge was a great alternate choice, but for about the same money, I don't see a reason anymore to use raw cast iron. For a skillet, maybe yes, but for a dutch oven--only stubbornness and tradition keeps people using them.

          1. re: blondelle

            I repeat, I have used enameled cast iron dutch ovens before, and I assure you, it was not stubbornness and tradition that made me revert back to non-enameled.

            Enameled dutch ovens fall far short in one key area: the sear. If I'm braising something, I'm searing it first. I have seared in both kinds of dutch ovens, and there is no contest whatsoever: plain cast iron sears far better than enameled, and the better the sear, the better the dish. Since I use my dutch ovens primarily for braising, plain cast iron is better for my purposes than enameled. It has nothing to do with stubbornness and tradition, it has to do with better results.

            By the way: total myth that plain cast iron can't be cleaned with soap.

            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

              I have some non-enameled old cast iron that has been in storage. I'm ready to clean it and start using it. How do you clean your cast iron?

              1. re: southerngal

                Depends on the shape it's in. If it's seriously rusted, you'll need to break out the steel wool and the naval jelly. If it's just dirty, a Brillo pad will do the job. If it's, like, encrusted, what my dad used to do when I was a kid is go out and build a roaring hot fire on the barbecue and stick the pan into it to literally burn off all the old seasoning and start over.

                Regardless, after it's cleaned, it just needs to be re-seasoned. There are plenty of threads about how to season cast iron, and everyone has personal preferences, but what I do is wipe every square centimeter of the pan with a neutral vegetable oil (canola or soybean or corn or whatever) and then stick the pan -- upside down, with a baking pan or some foil on the rack underneath to catch any drips -- in a 350 oven for an hour. When the hour is done, I turn off the oven and leave the pan in there until it's completely cool.

              2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                I agree about not washing the cast iron in soap. If needed, I use soap. As did my grandmothers. Not only that, I sometimes use a stainless steel wool pad, and always use metal utensils. I find the risk of melting non metal onto my pan too high. Besides, I think the occasional scrubbing helps to smooth out the the metal. The seasoned coating on the cast iron is a continous process. So a little scrubbing, scrapping and soap, and acids in food, will just be replaced when the pan is used with some kind of fat. Or if you rarely cook with fat, smear some fat on the clean warm pan and pop it in a hot oven for a while.
                I will tell you that my enameld dutch oven is only going to be used for tomato based soups and sauces and when cooking dried beans. All my meat, green leafy's, green beans and eggs will always be cooked in my plain cast iron cookware. I just prefer it. It is inexpensive, easy to find, and easy to fix if and when you mess up the coating. (But my LC french oven is a beauty. More like artwork.:o) I love it)

            2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

              All great infomation on this thread. Very helpful.

              I'm looking at the raw CI 7 quart Lodge Dutch Oven and wanted to know what are your thoughts on whether I should get the model with the spiral bail or not? Unfortunately, the model with the bail is not pre-seasoned, but I will do the extra work if the bail ends up being useful. I most likely will not be lugging this on camping trips. Only using in the kitchen or on a grill. Any info appreciated...

              1. re: MaxCaviar

                I've had them with and without the bail, and I've found it makes no difference in everyday use. If you'd prefer the pre-seasoned model, you shouldn't consider the lack of bail a dealbreaker.

                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                  I think the non bail, pre-seasoned model is almost $30 more, so that's the deciding factor if they truly work about the same. Thank you!

                  1. re: MaxCaviar

                    It's nowhere near $30 worth of labor to season a dutch oven. I'd say go for the less expensive option.

                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                      To be precise, it's $24.52 less (Amazon). Still not gonna throw my $$$ away though.

                      1. re: MaxCaviar

                        The bail is useful if you need to suspend the D.O. over a fire, or coals.

                        1. re: MaxCaviar

                          wow, i was wrong, the one with the bail ALSO is pre-seasoned. so now i'm really not getting why the price is so much lower.

                          1. re: MaxCaviar

                            Maybe because almost nobody lugs cast iron pots on camping trips or cooks meals in the fireplace. Or maybe the model with handles is more difficult to cast.

                            I saw the price difference, bought the one with the bail, and removed the bail, which has sat undisturbed in a drawer for 3 years now. The tabs where the bail attaches make adequate handles.

                    2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                      My CI dutch oven has the bail. Sometimes it just seems to get in the way, but other times I am thankful it is there. It makes it easy to lift and carry with one hand. Should I decide to get a larger CI dutch oven, I will probably get the one with the bail again. I like having options.:o)

                  2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                    I have to agree with Barmy and jayy90. I have both bare cast iron and enameled cast iron Dutch Ovens. I don't use the enameled cast iron Dutch Oven because I find it to be more difficult to maintain and you have to tip-toe about caring. Don't believe me? Just a search here on "Enameled Cast Iron Chipping" or "Enameled Cast Iron Stain". Meanwhile, you won't find these questions about the bare cast iron cookware.

              2. I got one from a company called Sante Cookware. I haved loved it! They make both enamel coated and non-enamel coated. I have the 8 Qt Dutch oven, but I know they make a 6 Qt as well. It comes pre-seasoned, and I haven't had any problems with it sticking.

                1. Lodge has the best quality control out of the bare cast iron manufacturers, they also have excellent customer service. I'd recommend watching amazon for deals, I can usually get most of their product line for a large discount there.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: rockfish42

                    I use a Lodge Dutch Oven. No complaints. Makes the best roast beef I've ever had.

                    1. re: Firegoat

                      mmm, can you post your recipe for that?

                  2. Look for an old nickel plated Griswold or Wagner Ware on eBay. Just search for 'tite top'. Better than enameled or plain cast iron.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ThreeGigs

                      I got a nickel plated skillet a couple of years ago, and I prefer to use the on plated one. The plated one stains easily and is hard to clean compared with the plain type.

                      BTW - Lodge is the only one made in the USA.

                      1. re: al b. darned

                        Their enameled line is made in China though.

                    2. I have a 30 year old Norwegian cast iron Dutch oven that I use continually. My only complaint is the stainless steel lid is hard to clean. I have a smaller 5 qt. Wagner one, bought at a yard sale w/ a cast iron lid which I use as well. I used Le C in the 70's and don't miss it.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                        Have an old Griswold that is, as you say, wonderful. Also have a LC doufou, the one with the depression in top for ice cubes, true not for camping, but find recipes just to use it for braising. Never dries out, never. Pricey but wonderful. Here in Paris they are sold at flea markets for about $40, love it

                      2. Uunless you run across something that is suspiciously cheap, cast iron is cast iron. Anyway, your main choices are between Lodge and Lodge. And Lodge, I'm sure, will do you well.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mpalmer6c

                          Don't be afraid to check out antique stores. One store in Tacoma has a booth full of
                          Griswold and Wagner dutch ovens and frying pans and considering what you pay
                          for top end cookware this stuff is a steal. I've got five dutch ovens and not sure how
                          many frying pans but over ten. We love cooking with them to include use on the Weber.

                          I need to do a better job of looking at thread dates.

                        2. Lodge is definitely a good choice and it is not expensive. Now, Lodge makes several lines just to be sure of that. There are more classic Lodge Logic:


                          The more ergonomic Lodge Pro-Logic:


                          Katom sells it cheaper, but it will have a shipping fee:


                          Finally, there is the fancy looking Lodge Signature:


                          1. I would give eBay a chance. Lodge is the only maker of cast iron these days and while they're fine, they do not have the ultra smooth finish of the older pots - they're very rough. There is a difference between enamel cast iron and cast iron and I do not consider them completely interchangeable.

                            1. I have used Lodge and similar but made-in-china skillets for years -- decades, now -- and I will second (or third) the opinion that of current manufacturers of raw cast iron, Lodge is by far the superior manufacturer.

                              That said, the manufacturing differences between current Lodge products and older raw cast iron are obvious and significant. I recently acquired my first Griswolds (griddles), and the machined interior or cooking surface makes them sufficiently non-stick that I will be quite happy using them for eggs. Cooking eggs with modern Lodge products makes me very unhappy when I have to get them out of the pan or clean up afterwards.

                              Vintage Lodge may have machined interiors, I don't know. And I know that the quality of Griswold is believed to have declined in the 1950s if not earlier. So I wouldn't expect to have the same happy experience with all vintage cast iron, but I am sure that a vintage pan with a machined cooking surface will provide more versatility and therefore happiness than any current Lodge product.

                              Although I only have broad experience in the domains of griddles and skillets, I am sure the facts about the variations in manufacturing are valid and applicable in the discussion of dutch ovens or whatever other shape you would want to use for cooking with little liquid.

                              1. Lots of great ideas here, I wonder if someone can bear with me and give me their thoughts (yes, I realize this thread has been asleep for 9 months)...

                                I've been trying to decide on a Dutch oven for a while now. At first, I was thinking Le creuset/Staub, until someone recently suggested a corningware product-- you know, the glass/ceramic casserole type dishes that are super durable, etc. I realize that's not a Dutch oven per se, but it would probably do the trick for me. Now, reading this, I wonder if I should go non enameled cast iron.

                                One question that I have that doesn't seem to be addressed, though, is heat conductivity, and heat properties in general. What would be the advantages/disadvantages of enameled, non-enameled cast iron, or cornigware (if you're familiar with that)? Should I be looking for a good insulator in addition to just a good conductor? Generally speaking, what heat characteristics do you look for when you assess a Dutch oven as a cooking vessel?

                                23 Replies
                                1. re: albatrosspro

                                  Can you heat a Corningware Dutch oven substitute on your stovetop?

                                    1. re: Jay F

                                      Of course, you can


                                      The argument for Corning has always been: Able to go from stovetop to oven to microwave to freezer...etc.

                                      They are pretty durable as for glassware go

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        I didn't know. I don't own anything by Corning, and neither did my mother or grandmother. I have what feels like an instinctive need to avoid glass in the kitchen to the extent I can. What Pyrex I have has sat on shelves for years.

                                        1. re: Jay F

                                          My mother owned several Corningware, not anymore. Anyway, I thought we all have seen those TV commercial.

                                          Corning was famous in large part due to its invention of these wonderful glasses. Pyrex is a complex issue. The original Pyrex is made of borosilicate and has good thermal durability for glassware. This is why Pyrex labware are famous. These are the glassware which scientists use to synthesize chemical compounds. Think about it, scientists use glassware all the time under heat and often at much higher temperatures than household stove.


                                          The European Pyrex is still made of borosilicate glass.

                                          However, in America, the name "Pyrex" has been sold to World Kitchen LLC and is not made by Corning. World Kitchen's "Pyrex" is not longer made of the borosilicate glass, and does not have the same thermal durability. So yes, if you bought your "Pyrex" in North America, then they can no longer go on stove top.


                                          "I have what feels like an instinctive need to avoid glass in the kitchen to the extent I can"

                                          I really didn't expect that from you, given that how much you like your enameled cast iron cookware. You do understand that your Le Cresuet enameled surface is made of, right? Yes, glass.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            That's funny. I didn't think of it that way.

                                            1. re: Jay F


                                              Make sure you don't pop your Pyrex on the stovetop unless they were the old ones made by Corning. I know I have written about it, but I just want to reiterate. Do not put the World Kitchen's Pyrex on stovetop. They will likely shatter

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                Oh, I've never put Pyrex on the stovetop. I have only had a set of bowls and one of those 9" x 13" pans. Two bowls from one of those nesting sets broke when someone dropped them on the floor, IIRC. The 9" x 13" is still working. I think they're from long enough ago that they're not from World Kitchen. The bowls were my grandmother's.

                                                I had a few pieces of Fire King, too. One broke when I dropped it in the sink, from about 8" above. Not real sturdy.

                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                  "I had a few pieces of Fire King, too. One broke when I dropped it in the sink, from about 8" above. Not real sturdy."


                                                  You may find this interesting. While borosilicate glass has better thermal stability than the tempered lime soda glass. World Kitchen LLC states that its lime soda glass has better impact stability. Quote: "heat-strengthened soda lime is more resistant to impact breakage – the far more likely cause of consumer injury according to national emergency room data."


                                                  In short, what World Kitchen is saying is that if you are going to drop your bakeware/glassware, then the new soda lime glass is more durable.

                                    2. re: albatrosspro

                                      "you know, the glass/ceramic casserole type dishes that are super durable, etc."

                                      I am not sure what is the definition of super durable here. Glassware or ceramic is not as durable as pure metals. You can drop a bare cast iron Dutch Oven 3 feet off the ground and then kick it across the floor. It is questionable that a Corning Dutch Oven cam handle that level of abuse. However, maybe all you looking for is something more durable than the enameled cast iron cookware. That is probably true. For enameled cast iron, the durability issue is never about the cast iron, but rather the enameled surface.

                                      "One question that I have that doesn't seem to be addressed, though, is heat conductivity, and heat properties in general. What would be the advantages/disadvantages of enameled, non-enameled cast iron, or cornigware (if you're familiar with that)?"

                                      For heat conductivity, bare cast iron is the best, enameled cast iron is pretty much the same just a tad worse due to the enameled porcelain. Corningware will be worse of the three. That is just the nature of any glassware.

                                      "Should I be looking for a good insulator in addition to just a good conductor?"

                                      Well, I think it is very tough to look for a good thermal insulator and a good thermal conductor at the same time because they are opposite. It is like looking for good electric insulator (like plastic) and good electric conductor (like iron). I don't think it is possible.

                                      "Generally speaking, what heat characteristics do you look for when you assess a Dutch oven as a cooking vessel?"

                                      That is really up to you. If you want good thermal conduction, then probably an aluminum based Dutch Oven is the best, like this:



                                      If you want good thermal stability, then maybe the cast iron based Dutch Oven and possibly Corningware is better

                                      Now, if you ask me, I look for several characteristics. I like a Dutch Oven where I can do multiple things in a pot. I like to able to sear and fry meat at high temperature and then able add liquid later. I like it to be very durable and handle abuses. I like it to able to able to easily go from stovetop to oven....etc. Heat conductivity is not the top attributes for me in a Dutch Oven. Not that it is not important, but not the top concerns.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        For a dutch oven - there is a difference between thermal conductivity, and heat retention. Depending upon what one is cooking - generally in a dutch oven one wants heat retention - something that cast iron, corningware - pyroceram dishes, and some other metals are good at. Basically, here I'm using heat retention to mean - once the pan is hot it stays hot to thoroughly cook the food inside, and not burn it.

                                        For example - those thin walled tall sauce-pans don't make good Dutch Ovens not because they don't have great thermal conductivity - yes they transfer the heat to the food, but often do so very quickly that the pan just does not STAY hot. Dutch Oven are great when heat is gradually released - that is for cooking that takes place over a long period of time. One does not NEED a high degree of heat since the pan itself holds and spreads the heat applied.

                                        A second point - Corningware - especially the pyroceram dishes produced up until the 1990's (white blue-flower and similar dishes) - are just plain different from Pryex dishes - especially for stove top usage. All of these items - Cast Iron, enameled cast iron, Corningware (pryoceram dishes), and deep dish Pryex casseroles can go into the oven for long cooking periods. All of these items will transfer the heat to the food and retain the heat over a long period of time - good characteristics.

                                        Where Pryex deep dish casseroles fail is the stove-top usage - often needed before a transfer to the oven. Pryex deep dish casserole dishes are often not meant for the stove-top. Need-less to say - the baking dishes - pie plates, smaller casseroles, lasanga pans, etc. - are simply not meant for the stove-top use - not only based upon the glass material but also the design of the dish itself. Pryex baking dishes were for baking - enough said. In another message post there are several messages about folks using baking dishes in ways that were not intended for baking dishes - and then they wonder why they have problems. Just because one can put a metal pie pan on the stove-top - does not mean that pan makes a great skillet. Different pans - different purposes.

                                        Again, most of this is a matter of preference - cast iron, enameled cast iron, Corningware (pyroceram dishes), Calphalan, etc. Each of these pots have their own characteristics - both suitable and not-suitable for certain uses. There simply is not one "best material" for all uses in all cases. The needs of cooking and the food cooked determine what is "good enough"

                                        Plus on a general note - I'm not sure if the test of good cookware is wether or not they can survive a drop from 3-feet on to a cement floor. Such drops might really not be good for the food that is inside the pan, or for the ears of the neighbors downstairs.
                                        - Mike

                                        1. re: Michael549



                                          "There simply is not one "best material" for all uses in all cases"


                                          "I'm not sure if the test of good cookware is wether or not they can survive a drop from 3-feet on to a cement floor"

                                          That wasn't to test if a cookware is good or not, but rather to illustrate that physical durability -- which is only one of the many attributes for a good cookware. It is true that one won't want to drop any cookware, and most likely one won't. The drop test, nonetheless, shows a metal cookware will likely endure physical abuse much better than a ceramic or a glass based cookware. This could be a real drop or scratching the cookware with a metal spatula over years.

                                          1. re: Michael549

                                            Hi, Michael:

                                            I'm confused. You're pretty clear and straightforward:

                                            "Where Pryex deep dish casseroles fail is the stove-top usage... are often not meant for the stove-top...the baking dishes... are simply not meant for the stove-top use.... Pryex baking dishes were for baking - enough said."

                                            Yet another poster, who says s/he agrees with you, also says: "Of course, you can [heat a Corningware Dutch oven substitute on your stovetop]"

                                            Who is right?


                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                              I'm not sure why anyone would have to clarify this and I'm not Michael but both statements are correct.

                                              The Corningware in my cupboard says it's mic/stovetop/oven/fridge/freezer friendly. The Pyrex bakeware I have is stamped "For oven and microwave, no rangetop or broiler."

                                              1. re: maplesugar

                                                I will try to clear some confusion. 1) Things change, and then they change back.

                                                Corning the company made a product called Corningware from the 1950's to the 1990's, until they sold the Housewares division to another company called World Kitchen which has since been making the product. The original Corningware dishes were made of pyroceram - a glass ceramic material original intended for use on space cones and missiles. Frankly the material could go to/from extreme kitchen temperatures of hot and cold with out any damage, and very durable -- in many ways much better than Pyrex - another product of Corning.

                                                According to one book that I read about the company - the pyroceram products were "too good" - they lasted for years, they were fairly durable, etc. Meaning that once folks bought a set - they did not "need" to buy another set for "years". The housewares division was losing money - so many product lines were cut. The housewares division was sold to World Kitchen - the present maker.

                                                Corning made millions of the white dishes with the blue flower (and over time plenty of other colors). The bottoms of all of the pans were smooth and white. Jump to the 2000's - World Kitchen changed the formula for their dishes (for whatever reason) to the stoneware material. The stoneware material available in stores for years - has a coarse un-finished bottom - and is clearly indicated-marked-stamped not for stove top usage. It is age of the cookware, and the material of the cookware - that matters.

                                                Thus a person could talk about Corningware being both for the stove-top, and not for the stove-top at the same and both would be correct. Persons with the older Corningware dishes - made from pyroceram are correct in that the cookware goes to/from the stovetop, oven, freezer, frig, microwave, etc. Persons with the newer Corningware (stoneware) can do all of that except the stovetop, and not instantly - the dishes should be cool (not cold) when transferred to the oven or frig.

                                                Pyrex is a whole other class - but similar rules apply. Corning made many Pyrex coffee pots, double-boilers, teapots, etc. that were clearly meant for stove-top usage. Even Alice the maid on the Brady Bunch was often seen holding a Pyrex coffee pot. Also the same company (and others) put out a whole line of bakeware - pie plates, casseroles, baking dishes - that were intended for BAKING. Corning the company stopped making the coffee pots, double-boilers, etc. - leaving the baking dishes as examples of Pyrex. These baking dishes were clearly not intended for the stove-top. In an oven - the heat is gradual and surrounds the dish - so the heat applied to the dish is uniform.

                                                There was another product by Corning called "Visions" a transparent glass-ceramic set of pots and pans intended for the stove-top, oven, frig, freezer, microwave, etc - just like the white pyroceram dishes. Many folks call these dishs "Pyrex" but they are not - the formula for the glass is different. These dishes were often brown or kind of magneta or purple in color.

                                                To sum up - a person can be talking about Pyrex as being both for the stove-top, and not for the stove-top - and both would be correct. The baking dishes - pie plates, casseroles, lasagna pans were not intended for and are clearly not meant for the stovetop - as marked on the products. It is those baking dishes that survive to today - available in stores, etc.

                                                The Pyrex pots that where available in the 1970's maybe up to the 1980's - the coffee pots, double-boilers and teapots - were clearly meant for the stove-top - and weirdly enough were not meant by design for the oven. Different dishes - different purposes.

                                                Not made by Corning, or World Kitchen - but other companies have come out over time with glass pyrex casseroles - teapots - coffee pots - all meant for the stove top. While other companies have come out with deep dish casseroles - 3 and 4qt casseroles. These deep dish casseroles give the appearance that they could be for the stove-top but are marked for oven and microwave usage only.

                                                Glassware - like all hot pots (of all kinds) should be handled with care. Remember back in the old days - hot pots were placed on trivets, cork-pads, or dry towels - when placed on the counter-top or table. Those kinds of rules remain in effect. Many "problems" would be reduced if those simple rules were followed again. Even though many modern counter-tops of granite, etc - can take the heat - that does not mean it is good for the pot. Back in the day - putting a hot pot on the counter-top burned the formica counter-top - leaving a burn mark - not good.

                                                For the purposes of being a Dutch Oven - again - cast-iron, enameled cast-iron, deep dish Pyrex, Corningware (either stone-ware or pyroceram), Visions, Calphalan, etc. - are all good choices if all that is being talked about is oven usage. For dishes that require a bit of stove-top usage and then a transfer to the oven - not all of the above items may be suitable. Different dishes - different purposes - different foods.

                                                Hope this helps. Mike

                                                1. re: maplesugar

                                                  Thanks, maplesugar, I mean Michael. Perfectly inconsistent.

                                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              << You can drop a bare cast iron Dutch Oven 3 feet off the ground and then kick it across the floor. >>

                                              Not really! If the pan falls and hits in the right spot the cast iron pan with crack. I had the handle snap off a small LC frypan when it fell to the floor not much higher than that. The floor was vinyl tile covered concrete. Cast iron isn't indestructible. The material is brittle and can break just like glass if it falls just right.

                                              1. re: blondelle

                                                Having a handle break off an LC fry pan , isn't the same as cracking a CI pot by dropping it. If the LC pan(not the handle) cracked it would be. If I ever figure out our video camera I intend to do a torture test of some cheap CI pans. I'm still looking for someone who has shot one with a smaller caliber gun.

                                                1. re: Dave5440

                                                  Oh, a cast iron pot will crack if dropped and it falls the wrong way. I've had a few LC's and Staubs shipped to me with vertical cracks down the sides. People are always surprised it can break like that as they think --- well, it's metal and metal pots don't break. Well, cast iron ones do. Hope you never have to find out the hard way :-(.

                                                  1. re: blondelle

                                                    I guess I've never dropped one the right way, thankfully they have always been empty

                                                2. re: blondelle

                                                  Ok, ok, you are right. What what I really wanted to say is that the cast iron itself is not as fragile as the enameled surface. So, while it is possible to break off cast iron, it is easier to break the enameled surface. Yes, you are correct that cast iron is not indestructible, but it is more durable than the enameled surface.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    Hey chem, as a side note I had to weld some CI at work on friday, I forgot how easy it welds , haven't had to do it in over 10yrs

                                                  2. re: blondelle

                                                    I am hard on enameled cast iron, and won't buy any more. I have often heard that chefs and line cooks don't use them because they will show spidering, chip and stain in daily use. My LC's did that, over a period of 15 years.

                                                    I managed to crack a beloved Staub dutch oven, Actually a raccoon did it by knocking it off a patio table, onto flagstone, I never made a claim, and decided to stay with cast iron, which is thicker and heavier. That works for me.

                                              2. I guess I still don't get it. I've have enameled LeC Dutch ovens for years (one of which I inherited from my mom who used it forever). They are perfect for stews, soups, braises and whatever....are easy to clean...require no special care such as seasoning, drying extra-carefully so they don't rust, etc. I just don't understand why anyone would choose a non-enameled DO. Sure, LeC and Staub are expensive, but they'll last a lifetime...and nowadays there are also less expensive brands available, although I can't personally vouch for them.

                                                I guess it's the same as I don't really understand why anyone would use a cast iron pan for cooking eggs...not when an inexpensive nonstick is easier to care for and works perfectly.

                                                I do have a CI pan in my cupboard, but honestly...I don't remember when a last used it!

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: josephnl

                                                  as far as eggs

                                                  Because my bare cast iron pan is inexpensive, easy to care for, is safe and healthy and lasts a lifetime and will never need to be replaced and I can use metal utensils in it because I don't have to worry about scratching it and eating teflon flakes.

                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                    My non-stick pan cost ten bucks about 20 years ago, is still perfectly non-stick and my rubber or silicone spatulas work fine, and if there are any Teflon flakes in my omelettes, they still taste great and I'm not losing sleep over them.

                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                      In my case, I started off with enameled cast iron and move toward bare cast iron cookware. Unlike you, I find the bare cast iron cookware to be much easier to care for. It also has the attributes I value.

                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                        I bet you only use it for eggs, unlike my cast iron which I can cook anything in and never have to worry about scratching it up.

                                                  2. Except for used North American or European cast iron wares nothing beats the price and quality of Lodge cast iron wares. If you are Canadian I just bought a 7 qt. Lodge Dutch oven for $111.99 plus tax and free shipping from Hudson's Bay (the Bay). I also have my mom's 4 qt. McClary (made in London Ontario)Dutch oven. Once they are properly seasoned they are always easily cleaned, even easier than my enamelled ones, I love them. There are cheaper ones from China but they are not as well made as Lodge and/or the old used ones from Canada and the states.

                                                    1. Nonstick can work just fine for a pan ONLY used for eggs but as soon as you do anything high temperature then teflon, etc emit toxic gasses, so flaking's not the only thing to worry about.

                                                      I'd buy a nonstick egg pan but right now I can't be bothered as the only thing holding me back from making French omelets just so on my Lodge CI griddle pan is its weight. That said, I've made acceptable omelets with it; I just wouldn't use it for guests.

                                                      It's almost as nonstick as teflon, and worst thing it'll do under high heat is lose its seasoning (and temporarily become non-nonstick). So in my estimate plain, unfinished CI has a lot to offer, and enamel pots are only an interesting (albeit pricey) alternative when cooking acidic foods.

                                                      I'll be getting a Lodge cast iron camp stove dutch oven soon; my plan is to do old school pot roast, with open flame (or coals actually).