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Dutch Oven Buyers Guide

A Buyers Guide to Cast Iron Dutch Ovens

To paraphase Bob Dylan, the only thing we know for certain about the Dutch Oven is that it is not Dutch.

Actually even that is not certain, but the most likely history of this versatile pot is that it was made by an Englishman named Abraham Darby in the early 1700s.  An alternative version credits Pennsylvanian Dutch settlers in America (who were German!). Does it matter? All we know is that they are now made all over the world and the two brands we sell are from Germany and The Netherlands. So the name is, for us, very appropriate.

A Dutch Oven is a cast iron pot with a heavy base and a lid. Some are enameled and most have a nice rounded lid and a cute plastic handle. You won't find either of those types for sale here in Great Northern Larder for the simple reason that they are not suitable for outdoor cooking, open fires, or barbeque. The Dutch Ovens we sell are often called camp stoves and they have some special features that you need for outdoor cooking.

Frequently Asked Questions

A Dutch Oven is traditionally used for slow cooking meat in liquid. Think stews, pot roasts, ragu, curry, soups, and pit beans.

However, the barbeque pitmasters among us have pushed the limits of a Dutch Oven and they are now commonly used outdoors for baking cakes, bake bread, roast meat, and deep fry chicken.

Yes. The main one is they are very heavy. That is a huge advantage for heat retention, slow cooking, heat distribution, and for longevity. However, they are not for backpackers and our largest model - the Petromax ft18 weights in at 18kgs and hold about 16kgs of liquid when full. That is 34kgs. Of course it can feed up to 60 people!

A cast iron pot also needs to be cared for. It needs to be seasoned and oiled regularly and it won't like being left wet after cleaning. It will reward you with many centuries of cooking though if you take a little care of it. Even if you don't take a little care of it you can always rescue it with a little cleaning and a fresh seasoning.

Any neutral flavoured vegetable oil such as rapeseed, sunflower oil, or special cast iron seasoning.

Run it under warm water and use a rough scrubbing pad or a stainless steel scourer. A brillo pad or steel wood will also work - you won't damage the oven. DO NOT EVER put cast iron in a dishwasher.

19 years is pushing it, but for all but the rustiest of sad cases you can simply sand it down and re-season it. We rescued a 150 year old cast iron pot that had been used as a flower pot. We sanded and re-seasoned it and now it is in daily use on our barbeque.

Yes - all our Dutch ovens can be used on a gas hob. The flat bottomed ones will sit on the ring better, but the legs should be ok as well.

Yes - but not the ones with legs. Dutch Ovens are heavy and will scratch glass or ceramic hobs easily so be careful.

Yes - they are amazing for baking, slow roasting, stews, etc.

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