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Mar 21, 2013 08:19 PM

Dutch Oven Recommendations & advice

I need to purchase a Dutch Oven. I went to the kitchen store and felt a LC and it's way, way too heavy for me. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and the weight of the LC makes it unworkable. Same is true for Staub. Are there other good quality Dutch Ovens that are lighter or am I out of luck?

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  1. I think you can go to Amazon and do some comparisons of size and weight.

    1. What do you need it for? What size?

      I've been braising for years, and don't have anything in the LC class. Perhaps the closest is enameled steel (as opposed to enameled cast iron). I also have a cast iron chicken fryer - but that's rarely used these days. I also have a 3qt stainless steel dutch oven, which differs from a sauce pan in that it has 2 loop handles. And a 3qt cast aluminum dutch oven - with a rimmed lid so it can be used for true camp dutch oven baking.

      A well known pot roast recipe uses foil and plain baking pan. And when braised dishes are shown on DDD, they tend to use hotel pans with foil covers.

      7 Replies
      1. re: paulj

        I was going to use it for stews, braising, and browning meats. I do have a crock pot, so I could use that instead.

        1. re: kdlalib

          paulj asks the same questions I would ask. With your answers in hand, I have a few thoughts.

          First, you can brown meats in a skillet and then throw them in a crockpot. (Make sure to deglaze the skillet to get all the brown-bits goodness.

          Also, if you mean to cook in the oven, any stainless steel dutch oven with at least a layered bottom (if not "all-clad") with layers, should do fine for browning and then braising in one pot.

          All that said, I like the heaviness and heat retention of cast iron, so I really enjoy my one LC pot and a couple of knock-offs (Walmart has a good one). Both bare cast iron and aluminum (the latter material recommended in some posts here) will be reactive to certain foods, especially acidic ones. I won't buy such pots for their limited flexibility, although they perform wonderfully in the right applications.

          Cooks Illustrated rated dutch ovens and only a very expensive one--by All-Clad--came in high among the lighter models. The rest of the high rankers were all cast iron in the rankings until about 10 down the list, when the Tramonitina Sterling II stainless steel was recommended with reservations. Worked well in most respects. It is under $100, too!

          1. re: Bada Bing

            Do you remember what were the objective criteria that CI used?

            1. re: paulj

              I have access to the exact report still but didn't want to post much copyrighted info. Some hints--they gave ratings of good, fair, and poor for three kitchen tests (beef stew, french fries, and steamed white rice) and gave the stew test extra weight in determining overall rank. They also boiled water in each pot. In the individual rankings, some other factors came in (e.g., Emeril's pot was good but too narrow at the bottom to brown much at one time); also, they tried some preseasoned cast iron pots, all of which lost their seasoning soon and made for off tastes and colors in the fries, boiled water color, etc. There was some variation in how quickly pots lost and/or regained temperature, evenness of browning, etc.

              Good that you ask, though, because the Tramontina wasn't 10 down the list but 8. Of the pots recommended without reservations, all but the All-Clad were enameled cast iron.

        2. re: paulj

          Which reminds me, paulj, speaking of commercial kitchens -- that the webstaurant store has this neat 7qt French oven that will be fairly lightweight, tri-ply, and the handles are nice and big. I have the 12 inch gratin in this line, and it washes up with no problem. Hotel pans: I have the very large one that I use at Thanksgiving, and it works very well for a roaster. Can't beat the price!

          1. re: breadchick

            Notice what they sell as braziers - for long slow cooking. Mostly stainless steel and aluminum


            In restaurant sizes, enameled cast iron would be impossibly heavy. Probably too fragile for commercial use (the enamel would chip).

            1. re: paulj

              I'm such a cookware junkie that it's probably darn good I'm limited to the standard burner grate on my range. I'd find some excuse to buy one of those honkin' large braziers!

        3. I just reread an earlier post of yours. You already have a DO. What's wrong with it? By their very nature, they're supposed to be heavy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: c oliver

            I dont' actually. I thought it was a dutch oven, but it's actually just a 6 qt soup pot. My cooking illiteracy was telling when I thought it was a dutch oven.

          2. Hi, kdlalib:

            If weight is a concern, something like tis would be ideal:


            1. I really think that you will do best with a Nordic Ware Cast Aluminum Enameled Dutch Oven like this:

              I've not tried them--for now I'm sticking with Cast Iron or Copper, but if weight ever becomes an issue, I'll probably try either an old uncoated oven like Kaleo suggests or a modern enameled aluminum oven. I do own several cast aluminum Nordic Ware baking items (Bundt and Popover pans) and I am very impressed with the quality. The price also seems very good. And if you are concerned about stuff being made abroad, this one's made here in the US.

              I hope this helps!

              4 Replies
              1. re: jljohn

                That looks great! It even looks like a LC or Staub. I also have some Nordic Ware baking pieces and I've really been impressed by the quality. Thanks for the suggestion!

                1. re: kdlalib

                  Note that this one is nonstick, however.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    I missed that part, sorry. I'd look for one that isn't non-stick in that case.

                2. re: jljohn


                  That's a sweet looking pot at a very nice price! I'm in the market for a replacement for my LC knock-off that I bought about 10 years ago. There are a couple of nicks in the bottom. I have no clue what I did wrong but I can almost hear my mother tsk tsking much like she did when lamenting how "hard on shoes" I was.