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My wife and I both love to cook and I'm looking to buy a nice, 6 qt, enameled dutch oven.

Le Creuset is the first that comes to mind, but I've been doing some research and have since learned that the Lodge Enamel product line often comes up as a close competitor in quality (not aesthetics).

Would you guys recommend purchasing a Lodge enamel dutch oven?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 7 down vote accepted

There is a good answer to a similar question, here What to look for when choosing a dutch oven? but since I had already written my answer, I'll leave it.

It depends on why you are buying it. There are several factors that go into picking any Dutch oven.

Weight/thermal mass. The ability of the oven to retain, and release heat evenly is determined by its thermal mass, which is why they are made of cast iron and very heavy. Cooking quality for both with be comparable. Both are VERY heavy. There are other brands that work...there is a Mario Batali Dutch oven that has gotten good reviews, and I even have a Tramontina that I bought in a grocery store that is very well made and works well.

Lid fit. The lid has to be a good fit. If it is loose, or warped, when you are doing a braise the liquid will escape and your braise becomes a dehydrate or a burn. This is where "cheap" brands fail. However, either of these brands will do you well.

Thickness/evenness of the finish. This is, in my opinion, more aesthetic and long term care based, but if you are going to buy enameled, make sure you get a decent finish. There are some that look more like the enamel has been painted on. This is mostly your call. The problem with enamel finishes is that you have the chance of cracking or chipping it, and once that's done, there is no cost effective way to fix it. But the enamel affects the cooking least of all. I cook most things in my Lodge cast iron (no enamel) dutch oven, and while it affects the color of some dishes, there is the additional iron that I get in my diet...no Geritol ™ for me.

Cost. You can compare cost, but this will potentially be the biggest variable. It's why I own the Tramontina.

Status. This is a non-factor for me, but if you take dishes to your gated community potluck, the Le Creuset has more status. It is, after all, French.

Both are good brands, both will allow/help you to cook good food. You have to determine what the cost/status difference is between them, and how important that is. If both cost the same, I would probably go with the Le Creuset. Since they rarely do, I have more Lodge than Le Creuset in my kitchen.

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Great answer, just one small nitpick: Since cast iron is reactive, if you are cooking on a raw, un-enameled dutch oven, then acidic foods like wine and tomatoes (which are commonly used in braises) can pick up off flavors. –  ESultanik Aug 25 '11 at 19:44

Probably too late for the OP, but I have a Batali enameled cast-iron 6 qt dutch oven that is fantastic. It compares favorably price-wise to the Lodge, it's durable as I need it to be (I've used it probably 50+ times over 2+ years and the enameling is holding up very well). It is very sturdy, even-heating, and the lid fits tight. The biggest upside is that the lid has little nubs that make it self-basting (so you don't need to use the aluminum foil under the lid trick when doing a long braise). I love this pot!

The only possible downside is that the rim where the lid rests is not enameled, but I keep it dry and it hasn't rusted at all. I guess the other possible downside is limited color selectcion with the most widely available color being persimmon. I got one in brown so I don't have to think about Mario Batali's orange Crocs every time I make chili.

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I think you'll find most decent enameled dutch ovens have a bare-metal joint between pot and lid. It helps reduce the chance of chipping of the enamel. I'd almost go so far as to recommend against an enameled pot that wasn't like this. –  bikeboy389 Jan 4 '11 at 22:37

I bought one of the Lodge enameled dutch ovens as a Christmas gift for someone last year. She owns several Le Creuset pieces, and says that the Lodge compares very well to them.

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I have several Lodge pieces and a small set of Le Creuset, and I love both. I don't have an enameled lodge of any kind, but I can't imagine that it would be a bad purchase.

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I've heard the quality on the Lodge enamel is top-notch. Given that they're pretty good on customer service from all I've heard, and they do know cast-iron, I'd say it's well worth the risk.

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