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Staub and Le Creuset vs. Griswold, Wagner, Piqua

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So I have an old Piqua skillet that I use daily, but I have never tried any of the other ancient cast iron or any of the contemporary cast iron either. I am in the market for a Dutch oven right now, but unsure if I should stick with the cast iron or go with the newer enamled stuff. Can somebody please explain to me the benefits of both options? Right now I'm looking at these two items:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/170794904334

http://www.ebay.com/itm/110833082372

Thanks in advance for any help you offer.

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  1. It really depends on what and how you cook. You don't have to season enameled cast iron, so you can cook with acidic foods and deglaze with wine and not have to worry about removing the seasoning. If you don't do any of those things, then you can get by without the enameled coating. I'm almost always cooking that way, so enameled is the best choice for the way I cook. I've got a Griswold, and it's used for totally different cookning than my Staubs are.

    1. This topic really can be generalized to bare cast iron vs enameled cast iron. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and there are strong supporters on either sides.

      Clearly there are many attributes, but I will list the most common ones.

      Enameled cast iron:
      - No metal leaching and therefore no metal taste.
      - Will not rust
      - Ready to use without the seasoning process

      Bare cast iron:
      - More durable as there is no risk associated with cracking enameled surface
      - Can be seasoned and reseasoned, and therefore a renewable cooking surface
      - Can handle a wider range of cooking temperature

      1. Hi, epitaph:

        The two things you are looking at are vastly different in more ways than enamel or no.

        The Piqua may react a bit more with acidic foods, and if you cook such things very often, you will need to re-season regularly. But you probably already know that from using your skillet.

        If that factor doesn't already bother you, I'd take the Piquaware. Bail handle, that pouring/hanging ring, great vintage condition, sexy curves, really cool piece of Americana. Anyone with a credit card can have Staub, you have to have something different in you to have Piquaware. But you probably know that, too.

        Hope this helps,

        Aloha,
        Kaleo

        5 Replies
        1. re: kaleokahu

          <<Bail handle>>

          That's one of those ones that swings, n'est-ce pas? If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a moving handle. How do you use one without spilling unless you have three hands?

          1. re: Jay F

            Well they are useful for hanging over the fire. But I don't do that in my daily cooking lol.

            1. re: rasputina

              Hi, rasputina:

              Now, now, I don't have a crane and trammel--yet. One step backward at a time, first the woodstove and *then* the cooking hearth.

              Aloha,
              Kaleo

              1. re: kaleokahu

                I do have a bare cast iron oven with a bail and legs, you know one of those camp ovens. I only have the lid lifter for it though, I haven't gotten the tripod yet.

            2. re: Jay F

              Hi, Jay:

              Yes, you can carry it like a bucket. Which means you can carry it *one*-handed. Pretty handy for picnics, crossing thresholds to serve, etc. With *two* hands--one for the bail and the other for that ring (or a tongue handle) they're rock steady for pouring, too, and I think safer.

              Aloha,
              Kaleo