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Oct 7, 2010 02:21 PM

My First Dutch/French Oven

I just purchased a 7 qt. Ruff Hewn oval casserole, marked down at Boston Store $88 from $188. My daughter used it to make pot roast and veggies and it was heavenly. I am considering getting a Le Crueset round casserole to accompany it. Everyone raves about Le Crueset, and rightly so. But I’d like to know if there are any opinions about Ruff Hewn.

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  1. No opinion because I'm unfamiliar with it. It sounds like Ruff Hewn is a brand name particular to the Boston Store. Which makes it almost certain to be made for them not by them. And these days THAT probably means made in China. Chinese imports aren't always inferior, but you would need to compare your DO with pans of known quality to know if your RH is up to snuff. Take it down to a kitchen specialty shop and really do a comparison. If they snob out on you, that's their problem.

    How much does it weigh? Are it's handles and knobs ergonomic? Does its enamel look smooth and thick? If you can post a photo, maybe someone will recognize it.

    25 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      Ruff Hewn is located in High Point, N.C. However it seems that their primary merchandise is clothing, apparel, footwear and home décor.

      So, you are likely correct that this Dutch oven is from China or somewhere. I don’t get the impression that Ruff Hewn has a site here in USA where they are forging cast iron and enameling Dutch ovens.

      In any case, yes, this Dutch oven is very heavy. It’s so heavy that if Le Creuset’s version were heavier, I wouldn’t want it. And the enamel is smooth and quite thick. I'm not sure about the handles, though.

      I will ask my daughter to take a picture of this oven and I will upload it for the board to see.

        1. re: Jay F

          Yep, that's it. Except it's oval. I still want a Le Crueset; I will get a round one--in cherry red. :-)

        2. re: GibsonGirl55

          It sounds great, and a real value. I wish you many years of cooking excellent meals in it.

          1. re: kaleokahu

            Thanks! Do you have a enameled casserole? If so, what brand?

            1. re: GibsonGirl55

              I have a brand new Le Creuset Dutch oven and one that my parents gave to me that they got as a wedding present 35 years ago...Both are exceptional quality.

              Another one to check out is Mario Batali's...I have not used it, and most celebrity chef's cookware is usually not great quality, but I have heard great things about his, and it costs significantly less than LC. I've seen it in looks nice, but it is even heavier than LC. I hear Lodge (American made) makes some good enameled cast iron as well, but I can not vouch for it as I have never used it. I do like their bare pre-seasoned cast iron though.

              1. re: dcole

                I believe that Lodge enameled cast iron is actually made in China. The non-enameled is still made in the US.

                1. re: nofunlatte

                  Absolutely correct. The official main reason that Lodge enameled cast iron cookware are made in China is partially due to cost cutting, but more importantly because of the relaxed environmental regulations in China. The Lodge Color enameled cast iron and the Tramontina enameled cast iron cookware have good reputation.

              2. re: GibsonGirl55

                GG55: Sorry for the late reply. I have a couple round blue LCs, but I don't use them a lot any more. They're very nice, although one has developed a crack all the way through the rim. I hope you enjoy your new red DO.

          2. re: kaleokahu

            Update: Well, I decided to return the Ruff Hewn casserole. The lid was not perfectly oval and you were right, it is made in China. I am ordering a Le Creuset from Chefs Resource this weekend. I might as well get what I really want.

            1. re: GibsonGirl55

              I just took a pot of Boston Baked Beans out of the oven that I made in my 7.25 quart round oven. I really like this size. I started with a pound of navy beans. I also can make two pounds of ground meat's worth of Bolognese with this size, which I have never had before. I got it about a month ago.

              I'm single, but instead of making different small meals for myself every night, a la Judith Jones' "The Pleasures of Cooking for One," I've grown to like making large-ish pots of things that can last for a couple of days, or be frozen.

              I had a 4.5 qt round oven for years, and as I learned to cook larger quantities over the course of time, that oven seemed too small. I want to get a 5.5 qt. now, too.

              I also have an 8 qt. pot from All-Clad that they call a stockpot, but which looks like a Le Creuset round oven, and not a stockpot. It's good for cooking big pots of stuff, too.

              1. re: GibsonGirl55

                Get the LC from an LC outlet instead. You get 35% off it you buy $300 worth. For the price of one oven you can get the 7.25 qt. AND the 5.5 qt. ovens. They ship free over $100 too. If you can't get to one find an outlet you're comfortable with and have them pick out the best ones for you.

                You can find all the outlet stores here:


                1. re: blondelle

                  Thanks. The outlet stores that I looked up online did not have a website from which you could order their merchandise. In any case, I did do some online comparison shopping and Chefs Resource had the best price for a 6-3/4 oval LC oven, $269. My daughter ordered it this afternoon. I can't wait to get it. :-)

                  1. re: GibsonGirl55

                    All you have to do is call them tell them what you want and they will send it to you. Someone here got the 4.5 qt. and 5.5 qt. round for about $240 for BOTH. The 5 qt. oval was about $130 I think with a $300 purchase, so the 6.75 wouldn't have been that much more. Maybe about $160ish.

                    1. re: blondelle

                      GivesonGirl, I got my new 6.75 wide round in Sonoma Green just for $139 at LC outlet in Sept when they had a sale for the discontinued colors. They still have Sonoma green and Navy on sale. They had many 6.75 ovals in both colors and 7qt ovals in Navy for the same kind of price of my wide round. They should still have them. They are 1st quality with the white sticker on it. It is really a steal if you don't have any other colors particular in your mind. As far as I know, in terms of 1st quailty, this is the one of the deepest discounts I have recently seen. They do some type of discounts all the time at the outlet for 2nd quality but for 1st quality, it is really a too good deal to pass. Call up your local LC outlet and ask for shipping as blondelle says. I also have 6.75 qt oval, too and love it. for braising rectangular shape roast in it. It provides a really good snug fit to those meats.

                      1. re: hobbybaker

                        Hey, thanks for the information! I intend on getting some other pieces, so I will keep this in mind. :-)

                        1. re: GibsonGirl55

                          Sure. Congrtulaion on your fist LC. Be careful. LC is addictive:) When I got my 6.75 oval, I thought that is it. but now I have 5 LC DOs. Now that I bought 6.75 Wide, I feel finally it is my last DO :) I use them constantly and love them all!

                          1. re: hobbybaker

                            It's scheduled for delivery this Thursday, Oct. 21. I am so excited. :-) And I am sure that this won't be the last. I am getting a round one in the near future.

                          2. re: GibsonGirl55

                            call the one in Dawsonville, Ga.. ask for Michael.. if you ask him to look through and pick you out a really nice one he will.. he has done right by me.
                            I've seen some seconds have chips in the paint.. the one he picked out for me just has one pin dot of discoloration you wouldn't otherwise notice unless I pointed it out to you.. during that sale, I think I saved like 40% total over a brand new first quality.

                            1. re: grnidkjun


                              Thanks. I will make a note of this.

                              1. re: GibsonGirl55

                                So, my Le Creuset arrived today. It's a cherry red 6 1/2 quart oval casserole. I am so happy!

                                1. re: GibsonGirl55

                                  What are you going to use the oval one for? I don't have any of those, but I might like to.

                                  1. re: Jay F

                                    I am going to use my oval oven for chicken and roasts. Julia Child recommended the oval oven in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (because its shape better accommodates roasts and poultry), so I elected to go with an oval oven before getting a round one.

                                  2. re: GibsonGirl55

                                    Congratulation! The weather is getting chilly. Good time to start to use LCs for slow simmering recipes. Yummmmm!

                                    1. re: hobbybaker

                                      Oh yes! Wisconsin weather is turning chilly and soon frigid. It is the perfect time to use it for slow-simmering stews and soups. :-)

                2. I want to buy my first dutch oven. Can someone recommend a overall staple size/shape? If I have to order a second one from the outlet store to total $300, could you recommend a second size/shape?

                  Second question! I live at least 300 miles away from an outlet/factory store so I will have to call and order. What are your favorite and most plentifully stocked stores with good sales (i'm not working right now). I know someone mentioned talking to a Michael from the georgia store. Any others?

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: ToastyMitts

                    For starters, who can argue with the recommendations of Julia Child? To quote GibsonGirl55 "Julia Child recommended the oval oven in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (because its shape better accommodates roasts and poultry)". Something from about 5½ to 7 qt. should accomodate all but the largest of families. I know you can get a 5 lb roast in one with room left over. The second choice will depend on how much (quantity) you cook and what you plan to cook. We have a small DO about 2½ qt. and a large DO about 8½ qt. both are useful but for very different quantities and are great supliments to the 5½ qt. DO that sees the most action at our house.

                    1. re: ToastyMitts

                      Depending on what you intend to cook wth and for how many people. Most of people want to have/start with either 5.5 qt round or 7.25qt round in terms of Le Creuset. Staub has 6.5 qt (or 6.75qt ?) round I guess. People tends to prefer a round shape if they intend to use it more often on range. Oval shape shines more for a whole bird and a big roast especially in oven. To me, 6.75 qt oval or 7qt oval is ideal for those objectives. Cooks illustrated recommends 7.25 round and I agree if you pick only one large DO and use it in oven and on range, but again the size/shape choice is really depending on what you cook and for how many people and how often, so someone else's choice might not necessarily be your best choice.

                      I use my 2qt for grains and rice. I love my 3.5qt for soups/stews and curries up to 6-8 people. I love my 6.75 oval and 6.75 wide round for braising a roast and meat and for the same things I make with my3.5 qt for more crowd. 2qt and 3.5qt are working for whole year while the larger ones work more in winter/fall, I guess. Also, I love my 3.5qt buffet/casserole for saute/short-time simmer type of recipes and casserole dinners. It is good for entertaining to keep things warm on the table, too. My household is two people. ( and i know some people suspect if i have too many Le Creuset, but I am happy with them because they are working constantly and I have never paid a full retail-price for them, ha ha :)

                      Plenty of choices depends on your criteria. I personally think having a larger one for crowd (and/or leftover) and a smaller one for grains etc is a good choice. In terms of outlet, they are doing sale for discontinued colors now and will do good sales around holiday seasons, too. I think grnid's Atlanta recommendation is excellent for ordering by phone.

                      1. re: hobbybaker

                        Just got my first LC dutch oven too. I would like to make the no kneading bread with it. Can anyone tell me if it is safe to use my LC DO in 500 degree oven to make the bread? Will it damage the pot or discolor it? I do have stainless steel knob for the lid. thanks,

                        1. re: gqc

                          I made KNB only a handful times with my 3.5qt but does not notice damage or discoloration so far. So, I think as far as you follow the recipe, you would be fine. However, I must tell you that one of my friends bought a cheaper 3.5 qt Kitchenaide dutch oven just for the bread for $30 or so. He makes it weekly basis and he is not comforable to heat an expensive enameled dutch oven quite often without any liquid in it. Also, he likes the kitchenaid oven because it has a fixed metal handle on it. It may depend on frequency but if you want to make KNB very often, you might think the same way too. Anyway, whenever I do, I use either stainless knob or wrap my black knob with alminum foil. Hope it helps.

                          1. re: hobbybaker

                            thank you. I have decided to use a clay pot for the bread for now. Maybe later I will try a non coated DO.

                            1. re: gqc

                              sure. there are good past threads on KNB in the HOMECOOKING board here. you might be aware but it is interesting to know how people are baking KNB. you can search from archive. I was really amazed that someone used Emile Henri Tagine for KNB. Just FYI. Happy baking!

                          2. re: gqc

                            I've read enough reports of staining and discoloration of LC from people who use the pot to make the bread on a regular basis that I wouldn't use it for that. Search the net as people make it all sorts of things like Corning Ware. If you want to make the bread often, I would just get an inexpensive uncoated DO, or a beat up used LC on Ebay cheap.

                      2. You guys are fantastic! Thank you- for all your wonderful suggestions.
                        I went to TJMaxx tonight -before I read your feedback-and they were getting tons of stock in for the holidays. They had many beautiful LC DO Seconds in Mustard, Flame and Blue. They had only one none the week before and suddenly they had about 15. I decided that the ample selection wouldn't last very long and I might as well pounce. I got two, a round one which I think might be 3-1/2 quarts (8.5" diameter on top) for $99 and a small oval one (9" length wise at top) for $89. My family is only two people, so I'm hoping that this will be a good start for me. I bought both in Flame so I could add to my fledgling collection more easily later on.
                        They had the poterie bakeware to match as well, but I could not determine what country these were being manufactured in Nowhere was it marked.
                        Thanks again

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: ToastyMitts

                          Congratulation on your hunt! I started with the two smaller ones (2qt and 3.5qt) for my daily needs and when I saw the book, "All About Braising", I started to feel like cooking those meaty stuff in a dutch oven, so I bought the larger. I think poterie bakeware is made in either indonesia or thailand, somewhere in south east asia but not in China. Many people like their bakeware, too. Good Luck.

                          1. re: hobbybaker

                            I am in Texas visiting BF in Houston. We had roast chicken for dinner last night; all I had at my disposal was one of those lightweight aluminum pans you find at the grocery store. While the chicken turned out fine (after seasoning and sauteeing before popping in the oven and basting it a dozen times, I really missed having my DO. I just might ship one down here.

                            1. re: GibsonGirl55

                              Gibson Girl, here we go. your addiction has already started ;)

                              There is a LC outlet store in Houston premium outlet !! Or, you can follow the contact of grnid in Ga and let them ship it to you. Life is easy!


                              1. re: hobbybaker

                                Ah, yes. That's about the size of it. I am hooked. ;-)

                                I still have been looking at other brands, There is Tramontina that Cook's Illustrated feted for its performance and lower cost. But it's made in China despite Tramontina's website that claims its goods are made in the USA. Go figure. The same can be said for Mario Batali's DOs and Cuisinart.

                                I guess I am going to stick with LC. (Mine looks so nice sitting in my kitchen).

                                  1. re: GibsonGirl55

                                    You are welcome! I saw bunch of Mario Batali's products at TJMaxx last week including DOs about 4qt. Forgot the price as I am not so much interested in their DOs although the design was cute. I think Ci's review does not necessarily reflect durability, especially for long time . their focus is more on performance. so for DO, I go with LC or Staub. I am interested in trying Staub someday if the price is right for me.

                            2. re: ToastyMitts

                              Congrats on your deals Toasty! I was hoping you wouldn't order sight unseen from the outlet . I wait for the sales or coupons and get all mine there, but some pieces can be less than perfect in finish so you have to check them out. Bed Bath & Beyond also carries them and you can always find a coupon for that store and they regularly have free shipping which is a must since it weighs a ton! Don't feel the need to restrict yourself to one color, some of us color junkies like variety since the colors are so hard to resist. Different color is the only way I can justify buying more!
                              Also the number on the underside of the lid will tell you what size you have.

                            3. I've been wanting to buy my first DO as well. And tonight I found a used one on Craigslist. It's in pretty good shape. $110 for a 12 quart LC dutch oven. I was looking for a 6-8 quart size. What do I do with such a large one? And would you buy a second hand one for $110 if the newer ones were out of your budget?

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: Peachie

                                Well if you are cooking for a lot of people, especially as the holiday entertaining season approaches, a 12 quart oven could be quite handy. :-)

                                And I don't see any reason for purchasing an nice second-hand casserole that is within your budget. My concern would be conducting business on Craigslist, given the horror stories of late concerning innocent people coming to some ill for posting or answering an ad on Craigslist. I personally would prefer running across a great LC buy at a place like Costco, TJMaxx or the outlet stores selling LC DOs.

                                1. re: GibsonGirl55

                                  I placed an ad on craigslist for a TV I wanted to sell a couple of weeks ago. A potential buyer wouldn't come to my house because he was afraid of whatever it is people are afraid of on craigslist nowadays. He wanted me to meet him in some parking lot a couple of miles away. (Yeah. I'm going to box up a TV and schlep it to a parking lot. Riiight.)

                                  Did something happen to any of you when you went to buy something on craigslist? I've sold at least twenty things on with absolutely no issues. Now all of a sudden, people are so paranoid. What is this world coming to?

                                  As for the LC, Peachie, unless you make huge amounts of things, a 12-qt. round oven is too big.

                                  1. re: Jay F

                                    Jay F,

                                    I have never had any personal experience with Craigslist because I have never used it. However, I will never use Craigslist due to the horror stories that have come up in the news from time to time. That someone who expected you to box up a TV and haul it off to him in some parking lot seems odd.

                                    In any case, you are right about a 12-qt LC, it's too big for the average cook and the DO and its contents would really be heavy.

                                    1. re: GibsonGirl55

                                      I'd be more scared to meet someone in a parking lot than at their apartment. I never heard of such a thing.

                                      I think the 7.25 is as big as I can use effectively.

                                      In any case, it turned out for the better that I didn't sell the TV. I had it tuned in wrong, and wasn't getting the HD channels. Once someone showed me how to do that, I was in heaven. It's remarkable how beautiful the picture is.

                                      BTW, I bought the TV at, and they are a majorly wonderful customer service experience. I would never buy electronics elsewhere (unless it was some particular product they didn't sell that I just had to have). And it's a Samsung TV with a QAM tuner--HD channels without an expensive level of cable.

                                2. re: Peachie

                                  peachie. 6-8 qt size is generally the best to start. As others say, 12qt can be a good tool for entertaining a crowd home if you do it often but otherwise it will jut cosume your kitchen space! (Also, it is very heavy!! I cannot imagine I deal with it alone. ) You will find your size at the places Gibsongirl mentioned with additional $30-$50 and it is a better choice especially coming holiday seasons when they offer one of the biggest discounts.

                                  1. re: hobbybaker

                                    Thanks everyone, for the comments. I was more concerned about what to do with a pot this big. (I have one I use that's pretty large but it's not as heavy as an LC.)

                                    As to Craigslist, I've bought and sold tons of items without any problems. I make sure someone is with me when I go to a house and I usually meet someone at my office with items to sell. Big items I've sold at my house (including 2 cars) but I take precautions there, too. Common sense is all it takes.

                                    1. re: Peachie

                                      One thing I might to do with the 12 qt is "seven-hour leg of lamb" which uses bone-in 6-8 pound leg of lamb rost! The recipe is from "All about Braising". I have never made this big one serving 12 people. She uses a roasting pan but I suspect might be able to use 12qt LC DO. but the pot and meat together again very very heavy. I guess I need to someone to help me carry out from the oven afte 6-7 hours braising.

                                      I hope one member who has the big goose pot (15qt LC ) will notice your question, too.

                                3. Just received a post card from LC outlet. From Nov. 26 to Jan. 2, 35% off for all purchase of $100 or more. Free shipping for more than $100 purchase within continental US.

                                  3 Replies
                                    1. re: hobbybaker

                                      How do you shop online for LC outlet? Or do you call the store nearest you, or what? Thanks, hb.

                                      Also, for anyone who doesn't know quite what else to buy at the LC outlets, I am loving using the LC large roaster for crisps, roasted chicken, roasted vegetables, mac & cheese.

                                      1. re: Jay F

                                        No online shop for LC outlet. They have a website but no shopping function. You can call any LC outletstore if you buy more than $100 because the shipping is free. Grnid recommends the outlet store in GA as she has good experience. See her post a bit above in this thread.