Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Favorite Things: An Enamel-Coated Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Inspired by Oprah's "Favorite Things" and the holiday season, I thought I'd do a series of posts with some of my favorite food and cooking-related gift items.  Of course, I can't hand out free items like Oprah can, but hopefully I can inspire a few gifts for the foodies and entertainers in your life.  Enjoy!

Lots of people would love to have a Le Creuset 7qt Enamel Dutch Oven, but few of us can afford the $250 price tag that goes with it.  Thankfully, Cook's Illustrated has tested just about every knockoff that's come out over the past few years and nearly all of them can hold-up to their French counterparts with one exception--none of them come in a 7 quart size so you have to brown meat in two batches.  To that, I say, "Big deal!"  At a quarter of the price, I'll take it and deal with the hardship, thank you very much.

My personal favorite is the Lodge Cookware Enameled Cast-Iron 6-Quart Dutch Oven, which comes in a variety of beautiful colors.  A recent addition to the line-up at Lodge, which is traditionally known for durable uncoated pots and pans, these are the best bargain and the closest-match to the Le Creuset ones for the following reasons:
  • Size - At 6 quarts, they're nearly as big as the LC ones.  You'll have no problem fitting a whole chicken in there (my favorite recipe) but it's not so darned heavy that you can't lift it when it's full of liquid--or just to wash it.
  • Price - They average around $65 or less--a quarter of the price of the LC model.
  • Availability - Nearly everyone sells them and Amazon offers free shipping--something necessary for such a heavy item.
  • The Lodge Name - Lodge is no newcomer to the cast iron pot industry.  They're one of the oldest manufacturers of cast iron cookware in the world and one of the only ones left in this country.
  • Made In the USA - I believe Lodge still makes all of its cookware here.  Support local jobs!
If you shop around, you may even find a better deal.  Just make sure the pot is at least 5 quarts in size or it won't be able to handle most recipes.  In fact, the TJX stores (Marshalls, Homegoods, TJMax, etc.) often have great deals on them.


  1. I hadn't realized Lodge was making them now. We love our LC, which the in-laws picked up at the LC outlet in Kittery, but that price makes it a great gift!

  2. Hey there - just thought I'd pop in and let you know that ShareAndTell.com is having a giveaway over the next week where you can win the Le Crueset cookware set that was featured on Oprah's Favorite Things - all 10 pieces. All you have to do is register with the site, tell your friends about the giveaway, and you're entered to win! But, the more you share it, the more entries you get - http://mothers.shareandtell.com.


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