- Food and Cooking
5 Good Camping and Cookout Dutch Ovens 2014
Dutch Ovens Make Great Food and Better Memories!
Some of the best meals I've ever eaten have been on a dutch oven. Whether it was just the atmosphere or the incredible dutch oven family recipes that have been passed down for generations I don't know, but whatever it is I love dutch oven! In this post I'll review some of the very best in dutch oven cookware available for 2014.
Le Creuset 5 QT Round French Oven
A High-Quality Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Le Creuset has long been the manufacturer of the highest quality enameled cookware on the market. This pot provides great heat distribution and retention, so you can cook on lower temperatures and use less energy. The tough, non-reactive interior won't absorb flavors or react with certain foods. It can even be used as a marinating vessel.
Cast iron is a great choice for cooking because it can be used with almost any type of heat source including: gas, electric, ceramic, glass, induction, or in a glass, oil, wood, or coal oven.
The knob on the lid can only be used up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Available in a wide variety of colors, this Dutch oven is extremely beautiful cookware. It's also easy to clean and care for. After the pot has cooled down, fill halfway with warm, soapy water and let soak for 20 minutes. If necessary, a nylon or soft abrasive pad can be used to scrub stubborn residues. Le Creuset also sells a cleaner to remove stains. Once it's clean, dry it completely and you're done!
The quality of this Dutch oven is so high that it comes with a lifetime warranty. While this particular brand is more expensive than other brands, if you consider that it will last you a lifetime, it is well worth the money.
Lodge Color 6-QT Dutch Oven
Finally, there is a high quality Dutch oven to compete with the Le Creuset brand. Lodge is the only brand of enameled cookware that is made with the same high quality as Le Creuset but at a more affordable price.
This enameled oven is perfect on the stove or in the oven. The plastic knob on the lid is only heat safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. While this may seem like a problem, most people solve it by buying a stainless steel metal knob at the hardware store. For $5-10, you can make the lid safe at higher temperatures and you still pay a lot less than the Le Creuset model
Some other benefits of this cookware: Since it is enamel coated, there is no need to season this pot. It won't absorb any flavorings, so you can use it with a wide variety of cuisines. Several of the budget enameled Dutch ovens have exposed cast iron on the rim; this could lead to rust if the owner is not careful. However, the Lodge brand uses matte black porcelain on the rim to prevent this problem. Cleaning is easy, just use warm soapy water and dry immediately.
A Lodge Dutch oven will last a lifetime with proper care. They are so confident in its high quality that all Lodge enameled cookware comes with a lifetime warranty against defects. Teflon pots won't last as long; eventually the Teflon starts flaking off and getting in your food. There are many concerns over ingesting the chemicals that are in Teflon. With an enameled Dutch oven, you don't have to worry about ingesting harmful chemicals, as Lodge products are lead free.
Lodge Logic 5-Quart Double Dutch Oven and Casserole with Skillet Cover
For those on a budget who want the most for their money, I recommend this Dutch oven. The five-quart capacity is large enough for a variety of purposes. The low price is easily affordable, especially since cast iron will last a lifetime or more with proper care. The cover of this oven doubles as a skillet, effectually giving you two products for the price of one.
Many people aren't used to working with and caring for cast iron. This may cause them some unnecessary fear. In all reality, using cast iron can be quite easy and if you season it properly, it can be just as non-stick as Teflon products.
To season, you coat the clean cookware in a thin layer of fat (I usually use olive oil). You bake it in a 350-degree oven for about an hour (place foil under the pot so the oil won't drip onto the burners). Turn off the oven and let the pot cool down. That's it.
To clean after use, use hot water and a stiff nylon brush to clean. For stubborn residues, you can put water in the pot and boil it for a few moments to loosen particles. Dry with a towel and put on a light coating of fat. At this point, I usually put the pot on the stove burner set at low.
Cast iron can be used with any heat source, including a fire or grill. These products are great to take camping, because even though it's heavy, one pot is all you need. There are some fun cookbooks for those who want to experiment with this.
WearEver Cook & Strain Stainless Steel 5-Quart Dutch Oven with Glass Straining Lid
Stainless steel is another product that can last a lifetime. This heavy duty Dutch oven won't warp like lower quality metal pots. Cleaning is easy; all I do is soak the pan in warm soapy water for 20 minutes and everything easily washes away with a sponge.
This Dutch oven isn't oven safe. It can only be used on the stovetop. The good thing about this pot is that it can be used on high heat, unlike Teflon or cast iron, which is only supposed to be use on medium or low heat. This provides excellent browning capabilities. It is common for a lot of people to have "sticking" issues with stainless steel. To solve this problem, simply heat the pan before adding anything, even oil. Once the pan is hot, add your oil and other ingredients and food won't stick.
Stainless steel is non-reactive, unlike aluminum and copper pans. You also won't have to worry about scratching the pot like you do with Teflon pots. You can use a whisk or any other metal utensils without concern.
The Cook and Strain line of products feature two spouts on either side of the pot. This allows for steam to escape while cooking with the lid on. When the food is cooking, you can strain the water out through vents in the lid. Now pasta and mashed potatoes are so much easier to make.
Universal Housewares Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Camping Dutch Oven
For those who love to take their Dutch oven camping, this model is a special treat. With three legs for the oven to stand on and a flat lid, cooking with coals is a piece of cake. The long handle enables you to cook over a fire. You can use this oven at night to cook your dinner and in the morning you can flip the lid over to cook your breakfast.
When upside down, the lid is perfectly flat with a 1" rim around the edges. You can cook pancakes, eggs, or bacon without making a mess or having to bring another pan along. When right side up, the lid has three pegs that act as a table so you can place another pot or pan on for cooking.
This Dutch oven is extremely sturdy and well made. It won't warp. The lid fits on perfectly. Learning to cook with cast iron is not difficult or scary at all. Learning to use a Dutch oven while camping can be great fun. With such high quality and at such a low cost, this is an investment you won't regret.