Which Le Creuset/Staub pieces for registry?
I am registering for my wedding and want to get the right Dutch Ovens for my collection. I have a 5.5 qt Emile Henry in red that I've been using for more than 5 years and I love it. I make briskets, soups, stews and even a pork shoulder once. The bottom tends to burn a bit on the stove so I may give it to my SIL when the new pieces come in.
I am debating between Le Creuset and Staub, but I'll spare you that debate as there have been plenty of threads already. Ultimately since the reviews of both seem great and we like both, I think we're going to get a couple of each (thinking 3 total) and would like to know what sizes you would recommend? We are thinking:
- StaubI 5 3/4 QT Coq au Vin oval in blue
- a round to replace my 5.5 (same size? larger/smaller?)
- a very large DO for multiple briskets (round or oval? what size?)
- should we get one that's smaller??
For briskets I would go with either the 6.75 low wide LC oven or their 5 qt. buffet casserole, also called a braiser. Both have a good sized bottom area but the low wide has higher sides making it more versatile for other dishes too.
I don't know if either can hold two good sized briskets but with the larger ovens you will have higher sides, very high cost, and a weight making it very hard to use and clean. The 6.75 wide round has a bottom area of about 12". If you want to braise two larger briskets you might be better off with a roasting pan and a few layers of heavy duty foil crimped around it.
The LC 3.5 qt. braiser or the Staub 4 qt. braiser are also very useful pieces.
Brand aside, we started wtih a 5qt. round, it works well for many dishes, multiple chicken breasts, 4-5 lb roast, etc. Then we had the opportunity to buy some pieces on sale, the spouse wanted despertly the 2.5 qt. round and I the 8.8 qt. round. We are yet to use the 8.8qt DO. I'm sure it will see service over the holidays when we have kids and grandkids home, but for up to 4 or 5 people the 5qt. seems to be adiqute. The 2.5 qt. is great for baked beans and other side dishes. We also bought our daughter the 5.75 qt Coq au Vin, and a 5+ lb roast fit in there very nicely with room for the veggies.
The 2.5 qt, is actually very reasonably priced, so with my 20/20 hindsight, I'm glad we got it. On the other hand, the 8.8 is a bit pricy and we probably could make due without it had it not been on sale for such a good price. The 5qt. is invaluable, however I don't know that it can do less or more than the 5.75 Coq au Vin.
Oh, and congratulations!
Thanks so much for the advice (and the congratulations)! So far I'm thinking:
5 qt Staub round (to replace the Emile Henry)
2.5 qt LC or Staub
7.14 qt LC round or the 6.75 qt LC low wide
5.75 Staub Coq au Vin oval
For brisket, I usually have to stack 2 on top of each other to fit it all in (10 lbs. usually). Do you think the low wide or the 7 1/4 round will be better? Maybe even the oval??
Brisket is an odd shape, it has a lot of surface area for the amount of meat, so even a 5-6 lb brisket is going to take up a lot of room on the bottom of the pot. Even the 8.8 qt round Staub is just under 12" in diameter, the 5 qt. is about 10", so even though you significantly increase liquid capacity (43%), you only gain 6 sq. in. on the bottom or 16%.
There are a lot of ways to cook brisket, we either put it on the smoker for many hours, my preference, or brown it and then wrap it in foil and put it in a roasting pan in the oven for several hours. We have not used the DO for that particular cut of meat.
I have to agree with blondelle, a 9qt or larger DO is going to get very unwheldy rather quickly. A 9 qt round is about 17-18 lbs w/lid, add 10lbs of meat and you're looking at close to 30 lbs to lug around, a very hot 30 lbs to boot. The 13.25 qt. that WS sells weighs in at 23 lbs empty. Full, just use water at 8.3 lbs per gallon, and 3 gallons wouldn't be quite full, it could weigh close to 50 lbs.
Speaking of Beef Brisket, I think the following site might give an idea as it has photoes of the pot with brisket inside.
She uses LC Doufeu 7.25 qt for one 6LB brisket. I have LC 6.75 qt oval and cooked this recipe with one 5.6 LB brisket last winter. I really love the oval shape provides a snug fit around the all sides of the brisket.
With two briskets, one on top the other in one larger DO as the meats are very flat - either in 7.25 qt round, 7qt oval, or larger but don't know exactly. 6.75 low wide might be able to accomodate two briskets together, depending how thick the meat chunks. 7.25 qt round might be a better/safe choice as the bottom width is almost same. While oval shape shines in the oven in terms of a good fit to meats, round shape might be more vesatile depending on what else you intend to cook with.
I would say the best way is to buy one close candidates for testing (maybe at local WS or Bloomi) and two briskets and make sure what kind of fit the pot provides. (But ofcourse, after searing/browning, meat shrinks quite a bit and gets smaller.) You can just return it if it is not used : )
Last not the least, blondelle's suggestion, for two briskets, to use a sturdy roasting pan with a tight foil lid sounds very valid to me. In a large roasting pan, with no overwrapping, both meat will be cooked at the same speed. Having meats with no overwrapping sounds better to me. If DO is used, you need to open the lid more than once during the cooking time and realigne two briskets so that they are cooked evenly. I don't think it is not always easy to do because the DO is heavy, meats are large, and the temparature in the oven is high. Using a large and sturdy roasting pan sounds good to me.