Does Lodge go the distance?
October 23, 2013 9:27 PM   Subscribe

Do you have an enameled Lodge dutch oven? Do you use it a lot? How has it held up? Can it compare to Le Creuset?

I've been wanting a Le Creuset dutch oven forever, but wasn't sure I could justify the cost, and was planning to get a Lodge one instead. However, tonight I stopped by TJ Maxx to see if they had any, and discovered to my shock that they had some Le Creuset ovens for $160, in the size I wanted (5.5 qts). I figured I couldn't pass up such a good deal, and bought one.

But now I'm wondering if $160 is still too much, given that Lodge gets such good reviews, and I can buy one for more like $50. And I have the TJ Maxx receipt, so I could return it tomorrow.

BUT! Most of the Lodge reviews I've seen (like the Cooks Illustrated one above) are with a new dutch oven. And I know one of the main selling points with Le Creuset is how well they hold up over the long term. Also, I bought a $50 dutch oven from Target a few years ago and it had started to chip within a year. I'd prefer to not keep buying $50 dutch ovens every few years.

So: have you had an enameled Lodge dutch oven for more than a few years? Do you use it a lot? How has it held up?
posted by lunasol to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The Costco private label Dutch ovens are manufactured by Le Creuset, and reasonably priced when I bought one almost a year ago. Just to complicate this for you.
posted by notyou at 9:48 PM on October 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We've had ours for a few years and have used it several times, often for long-cooking dishes such as cassoulet. We haven't had any problems with chipping or cracking, and it has performed well on the stovetop and in the oven. We followed a suggestion we saw and replaced the plastic handle with a metal Le Creuset handle. It fit quite well and made us feel better about putting it in the oven.
posted by jedicus at 9:55 PM on October 23, 2013

Best answer: I've had a blue Lodge dutch oven for about five years now, and I use it all the time, by which I mean three or four nights a week. There are some minor chips in the outside enamel, but aside from that aesthetic imperfection it's held up valiantly so far. The inside is fine.

I do have friends with similarly-aged Le Creuset without chips, but on the other hand they don't use theirs as often as I use mine, so I'm not sure the comparison is quite fair.

Like jedicus above, I also replaced the plastic handle of mine with a metal one from Le Creuset.
posted by tangerine at 9:57 PM on October 23, 2013

My Lodge dutch oven even came with a metal handle, but I've only used it a few times, so I can't help on the durability front.
posted by ansate at 10:12 PM on October 23, 2013

Best answer: Don't leave OxiClean sit in it for several days, even though the manufacturer recommends it to get stains out. (It looks like acid and magic eraser is helping, but it's still not fantastic.)

Other than that, it's held up fine, except the two chips on the top edge and the lid from when my husband dropped it. But those haven't rusted or anything.
posted by leahwrenn at 10:19 PM on October 23, 2013

Best answer: My Le Creuset is 5 years old and chipped inside so badly. It's a manufacturing defect and I keep meaning to call them to get it replaced.

I don't have any enameled Lodge, but the plain cast iron I do have is the best among my collection.

Professional chef who cooks a lot at home.

My Le Creuset enameled grill pan is similarly unusable.

F%ck Le Creuset.

Very pretty. Totally not functional.
posted by jbenben at 10:28 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I've had that enameled Lodge Dutch oven for a few (three or four?) years now and it's in perfectly nice shape. Some slight scratching on the inside (I think somebody used utensils they oughtn't in there), but nothing that affects cooking at all. No chips, so it looks like new if it's got the lid on. I don't take particularly good care of kitchen stuff.
posted by asperity at 10:50 PM on October 23, 2013

Do you need enamel? I've been using grandma's old Griswold 5 quart for more that 25 years, it's the same as when I got it.
posted by Marky at 11:09 PM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I have the Lodge blue Dutch oven, use it all the time, it's still wonderful and beautiful and heat retaining as when I first got it.

I've had a chance to work with Le Cresuet Dutch ovens and yes, they feel better in the hand, lighter lids, they're prettier, easier to clean, etc. but none of that effects how they work, and the Lodge Dutch a oven works perfectly well at being a Dutch Oven.
posted by The Whelk at 11:28 PM on October 23, 2013

Just some color. Beyond brand name what le creuset's claim to fame is, is being thinner and lighter. Lodge's claim to fame is america, f*ck ya. Its some heavy duty stuff and will last for ever. I'd say save the $110 get the lodge and use the money to buy ingredients to long cook in your new lodge dutch oven. Or a trip to the lodge factory in Tennessee.
posted by chasles at 11:34 PM on October 23, 2013

Best answer: I have a red Lodge dutch oven and I use it a minimum of once a week, more in the wintertime. I love it. It's held up beautifully.
posted by lovecrafty at 11:36 PM on October 23, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: The Lodge is 100% Le Creuset's equal, if not its clear superior.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:01 AM on October 24, 2013

Best answer: I have a Lodge enameled dutch oven and like it a lot. I've had it for a couple of years and made a lot of soups, stews, and braises in it. It's crazy easy to clean, especially considering food cooks in it for hours. My understanding is the other upside to the Lodge versus the Le Creuset is the Lodge's handle can deal with higher heat. I don't know if that was or is still true. In any case, it was fifty dollars and it's great.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:51 AM on October 24, 2013

Best answer: If you were starting from zero Dutch ovens, I'd say to look at Staub. LC and Lodge are in the same style. Staub's inside enamel seems much more durable from the few times I've used a family member's. And I think it's much prettier.

My Lodge is fine, but I feel like I need to be super-careful with the interior enamel. I had one that got scratched to the point where oil got under the enamel while searing beef chunks, which caused a nice little explosion. Lodge replaced it quickly and for free, though.
posted by supercres at 5:11 AM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I had a Lodge that I loved and used frequently for two years, until it chipped pretty badly. It was a gift, so I had no receipt or knowledge of where it was bought. I emailed lodge, sent them a picture, and answered a few questions, and within 2 weeks they sent me a brand new one. That was pretty great.
posted by AgentRocket at 5:38 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have had 2 Lodge Dutch ovens now. The first one chipped on the inside when I was preheating it in the oven for no-knead bread. I called Lodge and sent them pictures of the chip and they sent me a new one, with no arguing. The second one got a chip on the outside of one of the handles after about a year, but it doesn't affect performance any (and I've used both these pots pretty heavily). So, despite my experiences with chipping I'd definitely get one again since the company will replace them so easily.
posted by Empidonax at 6:00 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Years ago Cooks Illustrated tested dutch ovens. They liked a Le Creuset that cost its usual king's ransom, but they recommended a much cheaper Tramontina from Walmart because it was nearly as good and it was $50. I've been using it for years with no problem. Le Creuset is way overpriced in my opinion.
posted by massysett at 6:39 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We have had our enamel Lodge dutch oven for 4 to 5 years now. We use it weekly. I do not put it in the dish washer, and always hand wash it. I wouldn't say we baby it, and it has held up well. There are 2 chips around the rim, but they are minor. They do not rust, and I assume it is only the top enamel coating that is chipped. I assume they came from trying to manhandle that heavy hunk of metal in our enamel coated cast iron sink.

I would not hesitate to get another Lodge if something were to happen to this one.
posted by ohjonboy at 6:45 AM on October 24, 2013

Best answer: We have an enameled lodge dutch oven and we use it like nobody's business during the winter. We've had it for at LEAST five years, if not longer. Highly recommend, would buy again, A++++ etc.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:48 AM on October 24, 2013

Best answer: I buy both brands at thrift store, yard sales, and the like and I think Le Creuset's older stuff holds up very well. I don't buy anything chipped. All the the stuff I got as wedding presents is still going strong--over 20years old.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:37 AM on October 24, 2013

Best answer: I have had a Lodge Dutch oven for about 6-7 years. I use it a minimum of 4 times a week in the cooler/cold months and probably at least 3 times a week the rest of the year. It has held up beautifully and I keep meaning to get a couple different sizes but just haven't gotten around to it.

Highly recommend it.
posted by cooker girl at 9:08 AM on October 24, 2013

Best answer: I've had an enameled Lodge dutch oven (with the plastic handle switched for metal, as a bunch of people have recommended) for about 3 years now. I take THE WORST care of it because it's always the dish I leave for last when I'm cleaning because it's so freaking heavy. There have been many times it's sat on my stove for weeks with food crud in it (note: yes I am a terrible homemaker). Despite severe neglect, it's in amazing shape! No chips, cracks or any other issues with the enamel whatsoever. I'd totally recommend it.
posted by augustimagination at 9:59 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: OK, it's settled: I'm going to take the Le Creuset back and get a Lodge. And heck, maybe I'll take the savings and get a matching sautee pan while I'm at it!

I'll think of y'all when I make chili this weekend.
posted by lunasol at 11:10 AM on October 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh and:

Do you need enamel? I've been using grandma's old Griswold 5 quart for more that 25 years, it's the same as when I got it.

I totally need enamel. I have two cast iron skillets and just can. not. seem. to. keep. them. seasoned. At this point, their only purpose in my kitchen seems to be to mock my lack of seasoning ability.
posted by lunasol at 11:13 AM on October 24, 2013

I have a cast-iron enamelled Dutch Oven and a roasting dish I bought from Aldi about 5 years ago. The Dutch Oven (a huge oval thing) cost under £30 and the roasting dish was under £20. Both are fabulous. I had to replace the knob on the Dutch Oven lid but got one on eBay for next to nothing.
posted by essexjan at 11:38 AM on October 24, 2013

I know a lot of people are partial to Lodge for the Made-in-USA factor, but the Lodge enameled dutch ovens are manufactured in China, not in the States. Just an FYI.
posted by stowaway at 2:21 PM on October 24, 2013

Slightly off-topic, but this Serious Eats article is the best I've read on seasoning cast-iron.
posted by a_green_man at 2:32 PM on October 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

Also slightly off-topic, but I have a cast iron Lodge Dutch oven (and two frying pans), and I also kind of suck at cast iron care. However, even when I leave them with stuck on food (frequently) or (occasionally) soaking in the sink, or use dish detergent on them-- they're pretty much bullet-proof. I clean them, dry them, put a little olive oil in them and wipe it around, and they're fine. They have occasionally gotten a little bit of rust on them, and I just clean them, dry them, wipe them out extra carefully with a cloth towel I don't mind getting stained, put a little olive oil in them, and they are totally fine. (Yes, I know this isn't the Right Way to handle cast iron, but one is twenty years old, one 5, and one 2, and they're all in regular use and great condition.) Once I reseasoned one of them, and I decided it must not have actually been unseasoned by my poor treatment, so I never worried about it again.

I love them and use them for everything from baking in, scrambled eggs, spaghetti sauce, you name it. I especially love the uncoated cast iron, because it's a good way to increase your iron levels.
posted by instamatic at 8:06 PM on October 26, 2013

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