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Lodge Dutch Oven Cast Iron vs Enamel is there a performance between the two? While the majority of Lodge products is made in America, the enamel products are made in China. While it is not exactly clear why this was done, I suspect it was because of environmental regulation. Given that, Lodge maintains that their product still maintains the highest quality. If you look at both the cast iron and the enamel dutch oven, these two are actually very different in shape and performance. This comparison will take a closer look at what makes them different.
Lodge Dutch Oven Review Cast Iron vs Enamel Quick Summary
|Categories||Enamel Cast Iron||Bare Cast iron|
|Colors||Wind Range of Color||Black|
|Place of Manufacturer||China||USA|
|Thoughts||Overall better design and its easier to clean/maintain. It is made in China though and it looks different. Whether this is better or not is dependent on your preference.||Performance wise, it heats up faster and has nonstick capabilities. However, cleaning is a chore and it smokes when heated. While it does perform better, there is more work to do.|
|Tested Cookware||Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven.||Lodge P12D3 B0001DJVGU Seasoned Dutch Oven, 7 Quart, 7 qt, Black|
History of Lodge
Lodge is one of the oldest cast iron manufacturer around. It was started by Joseph Lodge in 1896 and is still owned by his descendant. Through the years, they made many different version of their skillets. Most are unmarked but you can usually identify them by the heat ring on the bottom. Throughout the company history, there has been up and downs. One of the most notable was the burning of Blacklock. It was the company first foundry and was a huge blow to them. Getting through that and the depression was not an easy task, but they persevered. Today, Lodge is one of America’s biggest and most successful cookware company. They are synonymous with Americana and quality. Their products are still one of the few that is made in the USA.
For more information about the blacklock foundry, check their pdf here. They also released a version of the blacklock cookware. You can look at the video below.
Lodge Dutch Oven Enamel vs Bare Cast Iron
There are a few notable difference between the two materials. While underneath they are both cast iron, the porcelain enamel affects how things are cooked. Which one you choose is dependent on your needs.
Porcelain Enamel has a different heat conduction rate than cast iron. It is much slower than bare cast iron. This makes it slower to heat up but at the same time, it smooths out the heat dispersion but not by much. If your goal is straight speed, I recommend that you stick with bare cast iron.
One final thing about the performance. Despite what marketer and people tell you, cast iron have poor heat distribution. They are prone to heat spots. One way to get around this is to make it more thick. For this reason, avoid light cast iron. They suffer the most heating issue.
The nonstick ability of cast iron is legendary. Most people buy cast iron cookware as an alternative to Teflon Coating. To make it nonstick, you need to maintain its seasoning. The seasoning is a layer of polymerized fat that coats the cast iron. Some people believe that it adds flavor to food. But it really shouldn’t. Another added benefit is the protective barrier it has. It prevents the cast iron from rusting.
The enamel coating is not nonstick. It is marginally better than stainless steel but not by much. Expect to learn how to cook in it properly. This means making sure that food is browned properly before lifting. If you expect it to perform like the bare cast iron, you will be disappointed.
Cleaning and Smoke
One of the biggest downside to bare cast iron is seasoning. If you heat up the pan, the oil will start smoking, causing the fire alarm to go off. It is a pain to clean as well, if you use a very aggressive soap, you can strip the seasoning. The proper way to clean it is to use salt and paper towel. You also have to be very careful, if you put it on a white cloth, it will stain.
Porcelain enamel does not have such issue. You can clean it like you would a regular bowl and it doesn’t smoke as well. Overall, if you want something that is easier to maintain, enamel cast iron is better.
This much should be obvious. Bare cast iron only comes in black. Enamel cast iron comes in a wide variety of color. Usually if your focus is on home decoration, I recommend that you stick with Enamel Cast iron. While Lodge range of color is not as varied as Le Creuset, it should suit the need of most people.
At its core, both of them are cast iron. However, the enamel coating is the biggest issue here. They are glass overall and its prone to shipping. If you accidentally smack it, you run the risk of chipping it. Luckily for lodge, it is more durable than other brand.
Lodge Dutch Oven Cast Iron vs Enamel Design
This section was discuss the difference between the enamel and cast iron dutch oven. We will go through design and shape of it.
The handle on the Enamel Dutch Oven is better. It is wide and large, this means that you can grip it easily with a glove. On the cast iron one, it protrudes outward a little more but the hole is a lot smaller. Both will work, but hooking the finger in is difficult.
Shape wise the Enamel Dutch oven is better. The interior has a nice smooth gradient that are perfect for whisking and making sauces. The cast iron version is more like a traditional dutch oven. It has sharp corner, better if you want something that is a little big more classic. The enamel version is also slightly more wider, better for searing food. In a more narrow dutch oven, food will crowd and it will steam.
Price and Appearance
The difference in price between the two is very marginal. It is about a ten dollar difference. I would just pick the one you like best unless you get a screaming deal between the two.
As for appearances, it depends on you. I personally like how the Bare Cast Iron dutch oven looks. If they only kept the shape for the enamel version, it would be perfect. But I can see how some would prefer the enamel dutch oven.
Lodge Dutch Oven Review Cast Iron vs Enamel Thoughts
Both Dutch Oven are well made and you cant go wrong with either one. If your focus is on home decor, go with the enamel version. In terms of performance the bare cast iron is the better choice. However, if it was me, I personally would go with the enamel dutch oven because of the ease of use. The bigger decision is the size, I recommend you get at least a 5 qt model. Those are more versatile and you usually dont want to fill soup up to the brim. It is better to go halfway, to prevent spillage.
I hope you enjoyed this Lodge Dutch Oven Review Cast Iron vs Enamel Article. If you would like to see more, please visit our Pots and Pans Review page.