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Best Size for first Dutch Oven?

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  • jfmorris
    Club Member
    • Nov 2017
    • 2144
    • Huntsville, Alabama
    • Jim Morris

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    Best Size for first Dutch Oven?

    Hi guys,

    I've been wanting a Lodge CI dutch oven for a while, and the wife and kids keep pestering me about Father's Day gift ideas, and I saw that I had an 8 quart Lodge Camp Oven sitting in my Amazon wish list. The more I look at that one, the more I am less sure it is the one I should get. I would primarily be using this on the grill (kettle or Genesis) or stove top or oven. That camp oven has legs that seem like they would cause problems if I wanted to set it down on the grate of my kettle, or on the grate of the Genesis too.

    My primary initial purpose would be to use this for frying stuff like chicken outside on the grill, or even on my Bayou Classic 60,000 BTU burner, but I've seen enough on here to be intrigued by all the other types of cooking you can do with a dutch oven. We have nothing similar in the kitchen beyond old stainless pots with plastic handles, and you cannot put those in the oven.

    Any suggestions on what size I should be going for? 8 quarts seemed good, but then I started thinking about how big my 2 gallon and 5 gallon stainless stock pots are, and 8 quarts might be almost too big for most purposes.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Thanks!
  • Troutman
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    • Aug 2017
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    #2
    I cook with Le Creuset which as you know is porcelain enamel cast iron. My go to is my 5 quart, I use that most of the time. 8 quart, as you say, is good for a large cook but ask yourself what you're going to be using it for most of the time.

    Comment


    • gcdmd
      gcdmd commented
      Editing a comment
      Walmart and Sam's have a Tramontina enameled 5 qt. for a lot less than the LeCreuset. I've used the Tramontina, and it seems to be fine.

    • fzxdoc
      fzxdoc commented
      Editing a comment
      jfmorris : Good suggestion, gcdmd. Tramontina was a Cooks Illustrated best buy for an enameled dutch oven; maybe it still is. I bought the 6.5 qt one as a friend for my Staub 8.5 qt porcelain enamel cast iron dutch oven.

      Kathryn
      Last edited by fzxdoc; June 12th, 2019, 07:11 PM.
  • jfmorris
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    #3
    Originally posted by Troutman View Post
    I cook with Le Creuset which as you know is porcelain enamel cast iron. My go to is my 5 quart, I use that most of the time. 8 quart, as you say, is good for a large cook but ask yourself what you're going to be using it for most of the time.
    Thanks Troutman. That brings up another question - I've not even considered coated cast iron. Do I need enamel coated cast iron for basic use?

    Comment


    • Troutman
      Troutman commented
      Editing a comment
      If you're worried about cooking acidic type food, like tomato sauces, there may be some reaction with CI, so I've read. The enameled ones are bullet proof but very expensive.

    • Polarbear777
      Polarbear777 commented
      Editing a comment
      I don’t know if you’d want direct coals on enamel so go for straight cast iron and the legs if you want to do cowboy cooking right on or in fire.
  • Texas Larry
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    #4
    I have had the Lodge 7 qt. for many years, but I’m finding it too big for most of my needs, and unwieldy on a grill. I’m lobbying for a 5 qt. (I’m not seeing an 8 qt. on Lodge’s list.)

    Comment


    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      Right now I am comparing the Lodge 5 quart and 7 quart models - they seem to only do the 8 quart in the camp style Dutch Oven with the legs on it.
  • RonB
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    #5
    I have this one. It's 5 qt and I like it because I can use it upside down for baking bread. However, I do wish I had a larger one for deep frying. It's all about the thermal mass. Drop a couple of pieces of cold chicken in a 5 qt DO half full of hot oil, and the oil's temp drops quickly and a lot. That severly limits the number of pieces you can fry at the same time. With an 8 qt DO, you should be able to get almost twice as much oil in it and that would lessen the temp drop thus allowing you to cook more each batch.

    But since you have a dedicated burner, you might be able to overcome the temp drop with the appropriate application of additional BTUs. Personally, I'd go for the 8 qt and plan on using the BC burner.

    Comment


    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks RonB. They apparently don't have 8 without the legs on the bottom, but do have the 7. That double Dutch Oven looks interesting, since the lid doubles a a skillet (without a handle of course). I have a skillet already though...

    • RonB
      RonB commented
      Editing a comment
      I think I have seen another brand in 8 qt without legs....

    • Polarbear777
      Polarbear777 commented
      Editing a comment
      With the 60000 btu burner you’ll keep up just fine. I have no problems with mine (except forgetting to dial it back and overshooting).
  • Attjack
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    #6
    Maybe you need a 5 quart Dutch oven AND a Lodge fish pan?

    Comment


    • Attjack
      Attjack commented
      Editing a comment
      Definitely no legs though.
  • Murdy
    Club Member
    • May 2018
    • 402
    • North-Central Illinois

    #7
    My wife has a Lodge, I think 8 qt, with legs. She does large meals (stews and such, and a lasagna bake thing) on campfires when we camp. For grill use, I would avoid the legs.

    Comment

    • CaptainMike
      Club Member
      • Nov 2015
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      #8
      I use my 8 and 12 often. I couldn't imagine wanting smaller than an 8qt. Neither have legs.

      Comment

      • mnavarre
        Club Member
        • Jan 2018
        • 344
        • San Diego

        #9
        I've got both the L8DO3 and the L8DD3 5 qt. I bought the DD3 for bread baking, but I use it more for frying on the side burner on the gasser and the lid comes in handy for back burner skillet duty since there's no handle to get in the way. The DO3 gets used more as a dutch oven, since the bail handle stays pretty cool on the stove top and cools rapidly when you take it out of the oven. It also fits under the cooking grate of a Weber kettle for pit beans. For bigger jobs and acidic stuff I've got a Lodge enameled 7qt. DO, not as good as La Creuset, but you can buy 5 for the price of the LC and it works just fine.

        I do want to pick up a larger DO for outside duty, just need a plan to conceal it from the wife.

        Comment


        • RonB
          RonB commented
          Editing a comment
          camo paint...
      • HawkerXP
        Club Member
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        #10
        I have the 5qt and like it. I understand you can get the camp style lid for it separately when wanting to place coals on the lid if needed.

        Comment


        • Polarbear777
          Polarbear777 commented
          Editing a comment
          That’s a good suggestion. Best of both. You can always prop on bricks to get coals under it, but they won’t stay on the standard lid.
      • mrteddyprincess
        Club Member
        • Sep 2018
        • 272

        #11
        I have a big one (probably 7 or 8 qts) and a smaller one (probably 5 qts). Big one is good for whole chickens and big batches of stew, and really good bread! Small one is almost exclusively for baked beans Mr. Bones style. You're a great dad. Maybe you need both!

        Comment

        • mnavarre
          Club Member
          • Jan 2018
          • 344
          • San Diego

          #12
          As far as space goes, the 5 qt. will hold a pound of beans with plenty of head room:

          Click image for larger version

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          Comment

          • mountainsmoker
            Club Member
            • Jun 2019
            • 1465
            • Bryson City, NC

            #13
            I use a 6 qt. as a compromise between frying and cooking. It is big enough to keep the oil hot for frying yet small enough for cooking a nice batch of beans. Just remember not to over load it when frying and a good hot fire will maintain its heat. Here is a company that carry's all of the Lodge including there enameled ones. https://www.webstaurantstore.com/478...pe:dutch-ovens I bought my 6qt red through them.

            One caveat if you do a lot of frying get an 8 or 10 qt. pot and a separate 4qt casserole for cooking other things. I use a 10x10 aluminum pan from Chicago Metal to cook my beans.

            Comment


            • AverageJoe
              AverageJoe commented
              Editing a comment
              I just hit your weblink and the first one that caught my eye was a 16oz with legs LOL
          • MBMorgan
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            #14
            I have both 5 and 7 qt. Lodge DO's (no legs on either). When I cook something that needs to "spread out" in the DO for browning, searing, etc., I use the 7 qt. The 5 qt is used almost exclusively for baking bread. I like it for baking because I can use it inverted with the "lid" on the bottom and the base on top. If I were deep frying, I'd probably use the 5 qt to avoid the need to use much more oil in the 7 qt.

            Comment


            • jfmorris
              jfmorris commented
              Editing a comment
              Is your 5 quart the "double dutch oven" where the lid is flat and turns into a separate frying pan? Just curious, since my wife bought me the regular 5 quart model with bail handle... I don't think I could use it upside down!

            • MBMorgan
              MBMorgan commented
              Editing a comment
              Yes, it's the double dutch oven: Lodge L8DD3 Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 5 qt ... currently $39.90 on Amazon.
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            #15
            I have a 5qt CI, 6qt enameled, and 9qt CI all Lodge. I use the enameled one the most it's a work horse around my house. I usually make double batches of chilie and soups so the 9qt is great for that.

            Comment

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