Basic Things to Consider When Buying a Dutch Oven

Deciding to buy a Dutch oven is simple. Every kitchen needs a multipurpose cooking pot. However, finding the right Dutch oven may need a little time as you ponder the things that you need to consider.

What size Dutch oven should you buy? What is the best type of Dutch oven? Which is better, aluminum or cast iron? These are some of the questions this article will answer to help you buy the best Dutch oven to use for all your cooking needs.

Sizes of Dutch ovens

In answering what size Dutch oven to buy, you have to know how many people you will be cooking for. Aside from this, you also want to consider what kind of food you are going to cook in it. Dutch ovens come in a wide range of sizes ranging from 6.625″ x 3″ to 16″ x 4.25″.

Usually, the 12” Dutch ovens have a 6-quart capacity that is big enough to serve 6 to 10 people. While there is no need to collect more than two Dutch ovens, some people still find it necessary to have various sizes and styles when they got more acquainted with cooking.

When you look at the sizes of Dutch ovens, you will notice that there is the word “deep” in some of them; this refers to the height of the cookware. In other words, there is a standard and a deep type of Dutch oven. The difference between the two is that deep Dutch ovens can hold about 1 to 2 quarts more than the standard size.

To find the right size of Dutch oven you can start with, detailed below are specifications you can take note of to guide you in your purchase:

Size: 6.625″ X 3″

Capacity: 1 qt.

Uses: Sauces, relishes, and chutneys

Serves: 1-2 persons

Size: 8″ X 3″

Capacity: 2 qt.

Uses: Side dishes, sauces

Serves: 2-4 persons

Size: 10″ X 3.5″

Capacity: 4 qt.

Uses: Side dishes, casseroles, beans

Serves: 4-7 persons

Size 12″ X 3.75″

Capacity: 6 qt.

Uses: stews, beans, small roasts, potatoes, casseroles, desserts, bread

Serves: 12-14 persons

Size: 12″ Deep X 5″

Capacity: 8 qt.

Uses: Larger roasts, whole chickens, stews, bread

Serves: 16-20 persons

Size: 14″ X 3.75″

Capacity: 8 qt.

Uses: Stews, small roasts, casseroles, desserts, beans, bread

Serves: 16-20 persons

Size: 14″ Deep X 5″

Capacity: 10 qt.

Uses: Hams, pork shoulder, whole chickens, standing rib

Serves: 22-28 persons

Size: 16″ X 4.25″

Capacity 12 qt.

Uses: Large roasts, Dutch oven meals for large groups

Serves: 22-28 persons

Types of Dutch ovens

The three basic types of Dutch oven are kitchen, camp, and packed. A kitchen Dutch oven is a typical pot that you will find in any home. It has a rounded dome lid and is sometimes available in oval shapes. They can be cast iron or ceramic, and are designed to be used indoors. However, it can also sit on top of your outside grill.

The camp Dutch oven, on the other hand, is made for camping or for outdoor cooking. They have 3 legs and a rim around the lid so they can stand on their own. Most of them are made of cast iron because they do not break, unlike ceramics.

Camp Dutch ovens cook any kind of camping meals you may think of. Just remember to bring a bag of coals or briquettes, if you are not using firewood, tongs, pot holders or heat resistant gloves, and a small brush before you start cooking or you cannot cook at all.

A pack Dutch oven is made of aluminum which is much lighter than cast iron. This makes it ideal for packing trips such as rafting and also hiking because it is very lightweight; thus, it is easier to pack and transport from place to place. Aluminum is a good conductor of heat, allowing you to cook dishes during travels right away.

Aluminum vs. cast iron

  • Weight

In terms of weight, aluminum Dutch ovens take the upper hand. They are 35% lighter than cast iron Dutch ovens.

  • Heating qualities

Aluminum heats faster because it is lighter, but it cannot hold the heat long. Aside from this, hot spots can also easily develop. On the other hand, cast iron is able to heat slowly and evenly and has superior heat retention.

  • Cooking qualities

The porosity of aluminum often leads to uneven cooking because the temperature is difficult to manage or maintain. Cast iron takes heating slow but cooks evenly.

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