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Cooks Illus. April 2010 Issue Tests Staub dutch oven Against Le Creuset

a
arupiper Mar 7, 2010 05:00 AM

Since the Staub v. LeCresuet debate has no signs of ending, i thought i'd throw this stick onto the fire. The April 2010 issue tests the Staub against the lecreuset, and here is a summary:

1. CI compared 7 1/4 qt lecresuet to the Staub 8 qt

2. Both browned meat beautfully and created flavorful fond.

3. BUT...CI said the black interior made it diffucult to see if fond was developing or burning AND the pot and lid weighed 6 pounds more than the lecreuset.

CI concluded that Staub comes in 2nd place to lecreuset.

  1. m
    Mardi2280 Oct 7, 2010 08:48 PM

    I've owned Le Creuset pans for more than 25 years (bought my first while living in France) and then 8 years ago got a Staub to try. Yes Staub is a little heavier but the Le Creuset finish becomes pitted after a while and then it's impossible to clean, even with soaking. It was wonderful to clean up in the beginning when I'd have something burned on the bottom. After it's pitted it wasn't so nice any more so I'd get a new one. Staub finish is much sturdier and still cleans up easily. I'd like to hear what Cook's says after 10 years.
    And I'm not a cooking professional and don't have a problem seeing how things are cooking in the dark interior. Good overhead lighting helps no matter whether the interior is light or dark. BTW Le Creuset skillets have a black interior.

    1. b
      blondelle Oct 7, 2010 04:50 AM

      As pretty as Staub is, there's one other negative that hasn't been mentioned here. The sides of the Staub ovens are sloped which means it's much smaller on the bottom than on the top. In looking at one 6 qt. oval pot, I doubt you can get more than two good sized leg and thigh pieces in there, or more than two good sized breast pieces. Even though it's a nice sized oven, the bottom area for browning and searing is rather limited. The sides of the LC are straight giving you much more bottom area for the size, making the pot more useful.

      9 Replies
      1. re: blondelle
        m
        mikie Oct 7, 2010 05:48 AM

        I'm not sure what Staub pots you have or have been looking at, but the three we have, (2¼ qt., 5 qt., and 8 qt.) the sides are almost straight vertical. Certianly every bit as vertical as Le Creuset. I can get 4 very large chicken breasts in a 5 qt, pot for browning. We gave our daughter the Coq Au Vin, 5 3/4 qt. and my wife easily fit a 6 lb. roast in it with room on the bottom to spare. I'll be more than happy to measure the opening and bottom dimensions and report what I find.

        I was unable to add a photo to illistrate my point.

        1. re: mikie
          b
          blondelle Oct 7, 2010 12:21 PM

          I never thought of the Staubs as sloped either until it was mentioned in a review from Fine Cooking magazine. I have a coq au vin here that's going to be a gift and the the width is about 8.5" on the bottom at the widest point and 10" at the rim at the widest point. In the length it's about 10.5 " at the bottom at the widest point and 12" at the rim also at the widest point.

          There is about a 1.5" difference from the top to the bottom measurement which means it's sloped. Nothing wrong with that except you lose bottom browning area.

          Here is the blurb. It won for best fitting lid for some oven's lids fit better than others in each line.

          1. Best-fitting lid

          Staub Cocotte (5 quart, $189.95) — The richly colored high-gloss enamel, elegant design, and finial-like top handle makes this pot the most stylish of the bunch. The uniquely designed lid fits snugly and retains more moisture than other models, both on the stovetop and in the oven. The wide side handles are easy to grip with oven mitts, but the sloped sides and narrower base mean less room for searing. ChefsResource.com

          Here's a link to the entire article comparing enameled dutch ovens.

          http://www.finecooking.com/articles/e...

          A large roast or chicken fits fine but when you place unusual shaped pieces, the bottom area of this large pot it isn't all that big.

        2. re: blondelle
          blue room Oct 7, 2010 09:20 AM

          My Staubs are straight too, but I have seen 2 decorative Staubs--one shaped like a pumpkin, one with a "reclining cow" lid, that are definitely slanted, but not the regular Dutch ovens.

          1. re: blondelle
            p
            pabboy Oct 7, 2010 04:04 PM

            TTIUWOP!!!

            Soooo....

            Here's my LC 7¼ qt compared to Staub 5qt round, Staub 7qt oval and All-Clad 8qt. The LC opening measures 11 3/8" across and the flat bottom is 9". The Staub 5qt round opening measures 10 ¼ " and 7 3/4" at the bottom. So basically they are both smaller at the bottom and the sloping isn't that different.

            There's also a picture of the interior of the Staub to show a "step" on the sidewall. This is so you can invert the lid and stack the pots. Brilliant!

             
             
             
             
            1. re: pabboy
              b
              blondelle Oct 7, 2010 04:22 PM

              I measured my LC 5 qt. oval and there was only a 1/2" difference between the inside bottom and the same measurement at the rim. The Staub was another inch of difference.

              I have no idea of the reason they do that but I'm sure there is one.

              1. re: blondelle
                MikeB3542 Oct 7, 2010 05:07 PM

                FWIW, as a practical matter, castings need to have some slope (the foundry term is "draft" that allows for the impression to be made in the casting sand and the "core" removed. If the walls were exactly vertical, the impression in the sand would be disrupted as the core was withdrawn, ruining the casting.

                My guess is that Staub, LC and just about every other manufacturer of cast iron cookware uses some variation of the DISA process, an automated casting system where the front of one mold serves as the back of the next mold.

                1. re: blondelle
                  blue room Oct 7, 2010 05:19 PM

                  Maybe it's just easier to manufacture them that way? To release them from a mold or something?

                  1. re: blondelle
                    m
                    mikie Oct 7, 2010 06:59 PM

                    I measured three sizes we have, the measurements on the 5 qt. round was 10" ID at the top and 9 1/2" ID just above the radius at the bottom. I also measured the side angle with a protractor and it's slightly under 5 degrees. The 8 qt. round was 11 7/8" ID at the top and 10 3/4" ID just above the radius on the bottom. The Coq Au Vin was a little trickier, but it was 9 1/2" x 11 3/4" at the top and 8 1/2" x 10 1/2" at the bottom. When measured with a protractor all had about a 5 degree slope. I looked at a LC this evening at the store and I really can't say I could tell the difference in the angel of the side walls. As has been stated, you have to have draft to get the cast iron out of the mold.

                    In all cases I measured the inside of the pot using a technique for measuring inside diameters.

                  2. re: pabboy
                    Mr Taster Oct 7, 2010 05:28 PM

                    Pabboy,

                    IYUROANKWTFYATA

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/555190

                    Mr Taster

                2. blue room Oct 3, 2010 08:29 PM

                  The basting spikes gather steam and drip only water onto the food--they dont really *baste*, do they??

                  1. m
                    mikie Oct 2, 2010 07:38 PM

                    I do a lot of woodworking and every magazine does tool reviews. I rarely agree with all of their findings. In many cases what they consider to be most important isn't all that important to me. I never find them totally wrong, but in many cases I prefer #2 or #3 pick over #1. In this case I sure both are very good pieces of equipment and it comes down to personal preference on interior color, top knob material, spikes on the lid, and overall design and finish. Pick one or both and enjoy. Since we put ours in the oven, I prefer the metal knob as standard equipment. I don't think you can go wrong with either one, just avoid the China CRAP.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mikie
                      Mr Taster Oct 7, 2010 01:48 PM

                      Actually, after their standard thorough battery of controlled cooking tests CI rated the Chinese made Wal-Mart Tramontina brand as being nearly as good as the Le Creuset. The only real drawback was the smaller size of the Tramontina... 6.5 qt was smaller than CI's preferred 7.25 qt size.

                      In fact, Wal Mart seems to be taking CI's recommendations seriously, since they began offering an all Tramontina cookware set that almost identically mirrors CI's "Ideal a la carte cookeware set".

                      http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-...

                      Mr Taster

                      1. re: Mr Taster
                        m
                        mikie Oct 8, 2010 06:52 AM

                        My take on magazine reviews of products is rather simple, it's a spot check, a snapshot in time and they rarely if ever test durability and longivity of a product. Casting iron is not all that difficult, but doing it well is. Iron ore, energy and labor are all less expensive in China. Chinese products for years and the cheaper ones still, had difficulty with their cast iron pieces. Magazines like CI, when they do their testing, don't typically evaluate equipment after a year of use. So the pot could warp and no longer perform well on a stove top and their test would never uncover this. Enamel is more or less the same story, to fire a glaze uses a lot of energy, which again is cheep in China. But, properly firing the glaze and using all the proper ingredients in the proper proportions is critical to the long term performance of the product. I have first hand experience with my costomers having products made in China and then asking me why the part failed. More often than not, it's because the Chinese manufacturer did not use the correct material. A few incidents like this and I have no faith what so ever that things made in China are what they are supposed to be. Just because a company tests a pot and says it's lead free doesn't mean they all are. And there are also heavy metals in pigments such as Cadmium and Chromium, that you need to be concerned with.

                        I think you can use the CI evaluation, but you have to realize, they are not covering many of the long term issues. Just because you can cook one good meal in it doen't mean it's not China crap.

                    2. k
                      kariface Oct 2, 2010 03:45 PM

                      Funny, the black interior, basting spikes and weight of the pot is why I prefer Staub to LeCreuset

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: kariface
                        Jay F Oct 2, 2010 07:59 PM

                        I can understand why someone might like the basting spikes, but why would you choose an interior color that makes it hard to see what you're cooking?

                        1. re: Jay F
                          Chemicalkinetics Oct 2, 2010 08:54 PM

                          The only thing I can think of is that a black surface looks "newer". A white surface is impossible to maintain. From the ease-of-cooking, a white surface is better to see the foods.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                            Jay F Oct 3, 2010 11:42 AM

                            Its light-colored interior is one of the things I've most liked about LC over the years. I have friends at whose house I've cooked lots of times, and I just hate using their Calphalon. It feels like a handicap. I have a 14", 7 qt Calphalon sauteuse from the original line, and I think the only way I would use it is if my LC and AC Dutch ovens were full.

                          2. re: Jay F
                            k
                            kariface Oct 6, 2010 03:37 PM

                            I don't have a hard time seeing what i'm cooking at all. Either chalk it up to culinary school, and years of experience on a line, but i've never had a problem seeing how anything was coming along.

                            I find I get a much better sear with my staub than LeCreuset, and my LeCreuset shows wear and has stained over the years, where the dark interior of a Staub hides all of that.

                            1. re: kariface
                              Jay F Oct 7, 2010 11:18 AM

                              I've never cooked in anything Staub. Never even looked inside one, TTYTT. But I've felt hobbled by the Calphalon I've cooked in (1980s, second anodized series, matching dark lids replacing original silver-looking lids), and it's because it's dark, dark, dark in those pots. I like being able to see everything when I'm cooking.

                              Not to say I couldn't become acclimated to Staub, but I like my LC just fine. If it ain't broke...

                              Maybe I'll take a look next time I'm at In the Kitchen.

                        2. y
                          yellowrose3502 Sep 24, 2010 09:59 AM

                          Which issue. I cant seem to find the article

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: yellowrose3502
                            srgoodman Sep 24, 2010 11:47 AM

                            As the OP said, March/April 2010. See "Equipment Corner" on page 52, the last page.

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