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#161509 - 01/06/09 01:07 AM Re: Speaking of cast iron... [Re: JohnE]
Pondering Offline
Stranger

Registered: 09/18/07
Posts: 9
I've got a 10" Camp Chef I picked up at one of the big box sporting good stores and a no-name 12" I picked up at Harbor Freight. Both are Chinese make. Both cook fine. Important thing is to look at the castings and avoid blemishes inside and out. I went thru several boxes at Harbor Freight before making my choice. Also make sure the lids fit and don't rock back and forth.

The folks at the Yahoo Dutch Oven Cooking Group praise Lodge...I understand Lodge is the last of the American-made DOs. The quote I remember from the DO group is "If you just want a pot for cooking go ahead and get one of the no name pots, if you want something to hand down to your grand children, go with Lodge."

I recall reading somewhere that Lodge has gone to all pre-seasoned pots which makes getting started cooking a bit easier.

Good luck!

--Steve

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#161512 - 01/06/09 01:23 AM Re: Speaking of cast iron... [Re: scafool]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1918
Loc: Washington, DC
This forum below is an excellent source of information on Dutch Ovens and camp cooking generally:

http://camp-cook.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=24


Also this "Cast Iron" section of the teardrop trailer forum:

http://www.mikenchell.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=44


I have several Lodge pieces -- pre-seasoned (which is amazing stuff!). Got most of it from www.amazon.com -- waiting for sales and taking advantage of free "Super Saver" shipping.

Got some Lodge enamel pieces from Cabela's. Again waiting for sales and free shipping. (a lot of good deals in the winter of '07-'08 but surprisingly fewer in the past few economic downturn months when I was shopping for Christmas gifts).

Here's the Lodge collection on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Kitchen-Hous...;pf_rd_i=289814

I'd watch that Amazon page carefully for the next couple months. Best deals I ever saw when I was amassing my collection.

Here's the Cabela's collection. The issue with Cabela's is catching a deal on shipping -- obviously a significant factor in buying cast iron.

http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templa...entId=cat602009


Edited by Dagny (01/06/09 01:28 AM)

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#161513 - 01/06/09 01:24 AM Re: Speaking of cast iron... [Re: JohnE]
hercdoc Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 75
Loc: L.A. (Lower Alabama)
If you have a Bass Pro Shops near-by they carry Lodge products...hard to beat a Lodge pot

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#161540 - 01/06/09 03:54 AM Re: Speaking of cast iron... [Re: hercdoc]
JohnE Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 601
Loc: Southern Cal
Thanks everyone for the useful info. I'll keep an eye out for some Griswolds and pick up a new Lodge in the meantime.

JohnE
_________________________
JohnE

"and all the lousy little poets
comin round
tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson"

The Future/Leonard Cohen


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#161585 - 01/06/09 02:55 PM Re: Speaking of cast iron... [Re: JohnE]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
Lodge and Camp chef both are making conventional camp style dutch ovens. These have a lip around the lid and three short legs on the bottom of the pot. Use these primarily for cooking with charcoal or a wood fire, where embers can be spread beneath the pot and around the top of the lid. Lodge had the only mainstream camp ovens for a while; Camp Chef was making a hybrid, which they still do. Only recently did Camp Chef start casting pots similar to the Lodge product, though the general concensus is that Camp Chef QC may not be as good as Lodge on these traditional styles. In any case, Lodge is most likely the brand you will find most often. In fact, Walmart even stocks them. The most common size is what's called a 12", either as a regular depth (6 quart) or as a deep pot (8 quart). These are the most popular, and I have more in this size than any other, and I tend to use them more than the rest. Most dutch oven recipes call for one of these two sizes, so it is a good place to begin.

You will find Lodge in all the big name sporting goods chains, like Bass Pro, Cabelas, Sportsmans, Gander Mountain, etc. Check the Lodge website to see what you can expect for pricing roughly, and to get an idea what you are looking for at a store.

I have pots ranging from 4" diameter to 20", Most often, I find myself reaching for the 12s, both at home and camp. At most Dutch Oven gatherings, about 60% of the pots are going to be 12". Like I said, it is a good place to start.

Probably the single best website for you to find more information is at IDOS.org. Pretty much everything you could ever need or want to know about cast iron cooking is there, and more people willing to offer you advice than you would care for.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#161588 - 01/06/09 03:15 PM Re: Speaking of cast iron... [Re: benjammin]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5341
Loc: SOCAL
Shifting the topic somewhat, I have seen Griswold and Wagner cast iron with smooth cooking surfaces. The Lodge skillets and Dutch Ovens I've seen were much rougher and seemed almost unfinished. How difficult is it to smooth the cooking surface on the Lodge cookware?
_________________________
Better is the Enemy of Good Enough.
Okay, what’s your point??

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#161627 - 01/06/09 06:42 PM Re: Speaking of cast iron... [Re: Russ]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
On some cast iron you will find that the surface has been machined, such as with my Wagner chicken fryer. For me this is an undesirable trait, as it is hell to try and get a seasoning coat to stick to a machined surface. If that is what you want, then you can get one of those flexible automotive cylinder grinding wheels and chuck it up in your drill motor and have at it. The rough surface on cast iron cookware allows the seasoning coat to penetrate and adhere to the metal, creating a sitck resistant seal that protects the metal surface from oxidation and the food cooked in it from sticking too badly. Over time, many coatings of seasoning will build up, and this is highly desired by cast iron cooks. Of course, there can be too much of a good thing, and so the buildup will only get so deep before it begins ablating away, thus keeping the overall coating within reason. It is just carbon buildup with a little unvolatized organic material (neutral hydrocarbons) helping to bind it.

Without walking too far off the deep end here, I would recommend not smoothing the cooking surfaces of your cast iron. If you want a smooth surfaced dutch oven, go with one made from regular or anodized aluminum. The rough surface of cast iron cookware is deliberate.

The reason my fryer and my comal are smooth surfaces has to do with intended use. The fryer is used for nothing but deep frying with little chance of anything getting stuck, and the comal is used for nothing but making flour tortillas which cook relatively dry, and yes, they are both well seasoned inside and out, and what a pain that was.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#161640 - 01/06/09 07:54 PM Re: Speaking of cast iron... [Re: benjammin]
Russ Offline
Geezer

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5341
Loc: SOCAL
Okay, that sorta makes sense. . . but I have a problem when frying eggs and the surface is so rough the turner/flipper won't slide smoothly under the eggs. Likewise, pancakes come apart and leave parts behind when they're flipped.

Smooth doesn't mean polished. Even a machined surface will hold oil. The Lodge Dutch Oven I bought will be rough but it's not critical because that will be more of a stew/chili pot -- no fried eggs/pancakes.
_________________________
Better is the Enemy of Good Enough.
Okay, what’s your point??

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#161678 - 01/07/09 12:35 AM Re: Speaking of cast iron... [Re: benjammin]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"...I would recommend not smoothing the cooking surfaces of your cast iron..."

Yup. I once bought a cast iron skillet with a milled smooth finish. I never could get a good seasoning on that thing, finally gave it to a thrift shop...
_________________________
OBG

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#161756 - 01/07/09 05:08 PM Re: Speaking of cast iron... [Re: OldBaldGuy]
GameOver Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 73
Loc: VA, USA

My wife gave me a Lodge 6 qt. deep Lodge dutch oven under the tree this year. I believe she got it from Target online, free shipping offer before the holiday.

We'll be having some backyard camp cookouts to practice some.
_________________________
It may not be our fault, but it is our problem.
-- Mike

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