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Oct 16, 2008 06:28 AM

Pot Roast Pot


I am thinking about purchasing a large oval dutch oven and I would appreciate some advice on the best size to get. I am looking at getting a Staub and they offer two sizes; 5qt and 7qt pots (29 & 31cm respectively). Which do you think would be the more useful size to get? The cheaper option would be preferred but I don't want find out after purchasing it that I won't be able to fit a whole chicken or leg or lamb in it. For other uses it would normally be used for about four portions, so the smaller size is more attractive - but it is more important that it can fit a whole roast in it.

Do you have any advice that might help me make this pricey decision?


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  1. If it's more important that a whole leg of lamb or large roast fits then go with the 7 quart. I have the Staub 8 quart round dutch oven and it's a honker (in a good way). I also have a Staub 6 QT Oval Cocotte, which is a nice size for 4 people. You can do smaller roasts and such in it. I think you need both - but if you're going to buy one: get the larger. HTH.

    6 Replies
    1. re: beauxgoris

      I don't think I have seen the 6qt over here, just the 29cm and the 31cm which I believe are the 5 and 7qt respectively. The 6qt sounds just right!

        1. re: beauxgoris

          A-ha! the one with the chicken on the lid! I hadn't considered that one - I will check the prices over here, thanks.
          Seems that it is currently the same size as the 31cm cocotte in europe at least. Starting to think that it is the one to get afterall.

          1. re: pass

            ^^Pass - they have it with a plain knob as well if you prefer that:


            1. re: beauxgoris

              That's the one I think, about 80$ cheaper than over here. That just shouldn't be possible.

              1. re: pass

                Turns out the 6qt is the 31cm afterall - somehow my original conversions were wrong. Thanks for all the help, I think this is the one to go for.

    2. If you're getting an oval, the 5 qt should fit a chicken fine. I've never cooked a leg of lamb, so I won't comment on that. I had an oval 5.5 Qt Cuisinart cast iron DO that I used to cook chickens in and I could fit a pretty good sized bird in it, although if it was a big chicken, there wouldn't be a huge amount of room for veggies around it. So maybe if you tend to cook your veggies and potatoes with the chicken you want a 7 qt.

      I traded in my oval Cuisinart for a round 7.25 qt. Le Creuset, though, and haven't looked back. It fits a chicken very nicely, although it's pretty roomy, and the round shape is more versatile for other dishes. Don't know if the leg of lamb would fit, though. But I like the round DOs much better. I case you're wondering, I also had a round 5 Qt Staub, and I could fit a small-medium sized chicken in that one, too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: paraque

        Thanks for the advice, I guess the chickens I would mainly use would be small to medium, so that really helps. Most game birds are also quite small I think, I've not ever thought about cooking other poultry in it though - so that probably won't come up... or will it?

      2. Is it better to buy with the biggest item in mind, or the most common items?

        There are ways of improvising if your pot isn't big enough, or is too big. For example on the Good Eats Pot Roast episode, Alton cooked the meat in a foil packet, not a fancy DO. Same for an oven braised ribs episode. In both cases he got by with adding just a small amount of flavored liquid - and got back a few cups of intensely flavored meat juices.

        I recently saw a Rick Bayless episode on lamb barbacoa - pit cooked lamb. He was cooking for a block party, using 4 or 5 legs of lamb. He used a large square roasting pan from the commercial restaurant store, covering the meat with banana leaves, and foil, before burying the whole thing in a fire pit in the backyard.

        How do you plan cooking the whole chicken or leg of lamb? Roasting or braising? You probably already have a roasting pan that is big enough for either.

        3 Replies
        1. re: paulj

          This is very good point. I think in this case I want the flexibility to cook the most common things often. It's good to know alternatives are out there if needed, although I would like cover most things in this pot.

          It is the dimensions of the pot that are the sticking point in deciding this I think rather than the volume - 2cm difference (less than 1 inch). Would it really make that much difference?

          1. re: pass

            The 7qt is probably a bit taller as well; I estimate about 20%. With a larger bird that may make a difference.

            I've rarely felt a need for anything larger than my 5L Copco enameled pot, which is 10" diameter, 4.5" tall. 10" diameter is plenty for a 5lb roasting chicken.

            1. re: paulj

              That's good info thanks. I think the only way to be sure is to take in a leg of lamb to the store! I would prefer something smaller really.

        2. For your oval dutch oven, I would opt for the larger of the two. The oval shape is the one you will most likely use for roasts, which tend to be larger and irregular in shape. I'm a big LeCreuset fan (not that they are any better than Staub...I think they are equivalent, but I've heard much better things about LeC's customer service) and have a 5 1/2 quart round oven that I use primarily for soups and stews, and a 6 1/2 quart oval oven, that's perfect for poultry, or briskets or other roasts). We are a small family (just two), nevertheless I wouldn't worry about the ovens being too big, except for the weight factor. The larger sizes are perfect for when there is company, and for leftovers when there isn't.

          1 Reply
          1. re: josephnl

            I have a couple of small Staubs already so I don't think want to switch now, although I do think all french cookware is very nice.

            Do you think if your 6 1/2 pot were half an inch smaller all around it would still be as useful and fit most things?

          2. I have a few cast iron pieces: 2.75 round, 5.5 round, 3.5 buffet, 8 qt oval.

            I rarely rarely use the big oval. Only when I'm cooking for my family on Sundays(8 of us) and the occasional large dinner party(this past weekend I made Coq Au Vin for ten for instance).

            I'm not a big fan of leftovers personally so rarely make more than four servings of anything(there are two of us, so dinner and then our lunches the next day).

            For your purposes it seems the 5 qt would be the better size. (you might also want to look at the 3.5 buffet from LC. I use this pan all the time, more than any of the others).

            6 Replies
            1. re: ziggylu

              Thank you, four portions is what I usually cook and so the extra size might just go to waste - I think having a deeper volume in the smaller size pot would generally be better for everyday things rather than a shallower volume in wider pot.
              The difference between the two is less than an inch, but the volumetric size is considerably different. 6-8 portions might be overkill for me.
              Getting a shallow casserole is on the list - but I'm making do with my saute pan for now.

              1. re: ziggylu

                Depnds on what's left over. Agree that some dishes may not be as good the next day, poultry and seafood for instance,. Many things actually improve after a day or two...such as brisket, Hungarian stuffed cabbage and Russian cabbage and beef borscht. Many items even freeze perfectly well for later use, and really do not seem to deteriorate significantly...many soups for example (not cream soups!). When I freeze soups or stews, I usually perk them up a bit by adding fresh parsley or other herbs when later reheating them, and they usually do just great.

                1. re: josephnl

                  Regardless of what they are or how they're cooked I just don't care for leftovers. I'm just one of those people, there are a few of us in the universe.

                  Indeed something are better then next day which is why I usually make those type of items a day ahead of when I plan them for dinner(for instance a small pot roast we ate last night)

                  1. re: ziggylu

                    I'm not a big leftover fan either.

                    But this is a good thread to follow though.

                    Is your 5.5 big enough for no knead bread?

                    1. re: Jack_

                      I haven't tried no knead bread but I believe 5.5 is a pretty standard size for it. You need to take the handle off the the LC pots however due to the high heat.

                      For the OP, I used to 8 qt pot yesterday to make some split pea soup to take down to my parent's this afternoon. There will be 8 of us and there's easily enough soup for two bowls each....still room in the pot for a some more servings if I wanted. The 8 qt is really a big size I think and would be overkill in a 2 person household unless you regular cooked for a lot of people.

                  2. re: josephnl

                    I don't mind leftovers - but when it gets to like the third or fourth day it's too much. 5qt seems large to me already, 7qts being extra large. I'm worried it will be too much and all I'll be eating is leftovers!