Enameled Cast Iron- Staub, Lodge or Le Creuset?
I want a big dutch oven that I can use for years and years in a cheery color. I don't want to settle for a cheaper product and find that it rusts on the rim or the enamel chips. So far I'm thinking that I should be looking at the Big 3- Staub, Lodge and Le Creuset.
Am I missing another fine product? Is the price jump between the Lodge and the other two merited? I'd love to hear about your experiences before I drop two hundred plus bucks...
I have a huge Lodge (7 qt, maybe), as well as one of the casserole dishes and love them. They're from the "older" set released in 2004 - you can see both kinds on Amazon, and I personally prefer the look of the older ones. The colors are bright and cheery. The only warning I would give on the Lodge pot is that the shape leaves pretty square corners along teh bottom edge of the pot. I've never had a problem with them, but I can see that someone could find it difficult to stir and get things burned or something.
I don't have any Staub or LC, but I can say that my Lodge pot is far and away better than the cheap cast iron pot that I got at TJ Maxx.
If you watch for bargains you can get some great deals. Amazon had a first quality 5 qt. Staub in a gorgeous shaded blue for only $65.87 a few weeks back. I had the Batali and returned it. The enamel was very lumpy and the lid didn't seal well. I have had the Creuset and Staub. The Staub is very heavy but a beautiful pot. Some people don't like the dark interior though. Le Creuset is great, and keep checking amazon for deals on them. They don't have as many as they used to though. You can get some good deals on ebay.
I bought an enameled Lodge for my mom and it's made much better than the Batali with smoother, much more carefully applied enamel with a better sealing lid. I do like the looks of the Batali though better. I got mine for $34.95 for the 6 qt. on Amazon so keep watching for sales.
I don't know if the China made enameled cast iron will hold up as well as the French enamel over time, but if you get 5-10 years out of it it only comes to $5-$10 a year for it's use.
Just yesterday I was brining up a pot of chile from the basment in my 10qt Le Creuset and crap the door at the top of the stairs was locked so I left it on the top step and was planning on going around and unlocking the door from the other side. Got to doing other things and was bringing a load of wash downstairs. Forget pot was there kicked it over lid bounced down the stairs and hit the cement floor-not a scratch! Had to use the 5 second rule on some of the chile......
If you are just choosing a dutch oven for the color, then go and check those out.
I have a blue Staub that sits on my stove, and it was a gift. I cook in it almost all year, except for the summer. I can't compliment it enough.
One day I was browising Marshall's and came across the sales girl putting an Outset 6 guart Dutch oven, on the cleareance shelf for $15! It has a couple of chips in the lid, but it was one of the best bargains I ever rann into. There is a picture below of one without the chips and it sells for around $100 dollars.
But, definatey check out QVC, Marshalls, Homegoods,etc., when you want to add a second piece. I also love my Le Cruset grill pan that I got on Amazon.com for less than $30 dollars.
I'm very happy w/ my Mario Batali (ugh, I know...) 6 qt. red dutch oven made by copco. It might be exclusive to Crate and Barrel; not sure. It retails for about a hundred, but you could probably find it @ Amazon for less. Quite heavy and has dimpled lid, rubber gaskets to help protect the lid/rim when storing. A few chips in the handle, but that's cuz I'm a bit of a klutz when cleaning up!! Happy shopping.....Adam
I too have a Mario Batali 6-qt dutch oven. Sshhhhh! please don't tell my friends - my last name begins with a "W" so if I spin the lid around they think it's some fancy custom made thing. HAHA - how funny!
At any rate - picked mine up on Amazon about 3-4 years ago - it's been great and has become my favorite go to for many, many dishes - including my 4th generation recipe for tomato sauce.
No bubbles, cracks, chips, etc - in perfect condition and I use it A LOT. In fact - braising some short ribs in it right now.
I was concerned because I only paid $50 for it on Amazon. In this case, I'm pleased to say that I got way more than I paid for.
Just for your own reference, Lodge enameled cast iron cookware is manufactured in China. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but if you're going to throw China into the mix you might as well look at all the other Chinese enameled cast iron products that have flooded the market. Take a trip to your local HomeGoods/TJMaxx/Marshall's and see for yourself. Some of it is garbage, some of it is quite good. All of it can be had for much less than LC or Staub.
In addition to my Le Creuset and Descoware, I have a 5 qt. enameled cast iron pot (made in China) that I picked up at Target for $40. It performs just the same on the stove or in the oven as the "better" pots, the interior glaze cleans up just as nicely as the more expensive pots, but the exterior glaze is starting to show some wear after a 100+ loaves of No-Knead bread at 475°. It doesn't rust on the rim, and so far it hasn't chipped.
In the end, if you want something in a "cheery color" to prominently display in your kitchen, I say spend up for the LC or Staub. But don't buy one thinking it's going to perform better than any of the cheaper options I mentioned...
My cheap Target pot: http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/3367...
re: Joe Blowe
This was helpful to me, as I start to cook another batch of chili in my old Farberware Stainless. I got the Macy's flyer for tomorrows paper this morning and the Martha Stewart enameled cast iron is now $50 for the 5.5 qt dutch oven and with a 10% coupon on sale.. Looks like it comes with the self basting dimpled lid which Staub sold me on. ..I see some no-knead bread in the future and braised shortribs.