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Old 04-07-2008, 03:27 PM   #1
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Smile Help with Enameled Cast Iron Choice!

After thoroughly reviewing my choices for enameled cast iron, I am finding it hard to make a final decision while I'm in my "return" period for those that I've bought.

"Customer Reviews" are all over the place, but I've ended up buying LeCreuset-Dune(2,5,6.75), Staub-Grenadine(5 and 6 oval) and Mario Batali-Chianti (4,6, 9). I really liked the IKEA 3 quart (Pesto), saute and skillet so I got that too. I am afraid to use it because I can't return it.

HELP -- For those of you who have used those brands, please let me know your thoughts or suggestions.

Thanks a million

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Old 04-07-2008, 03:30 PM   #2
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My only experience is with LeCreuset. Love, love, love it. I would buy all I could afford. Of the pieces we have, we have two oval Dutch ovens that, really, are never put away they're used so often. Can't say enough good about how LC performs. Our daughter will inherit them when we're gone.
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Old 04-07-2008, 03:38 PM   #3
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I am the same as Katie. My LC is my favorite piece of cookware by far. it performs extremely well and looks great. I am sure my daughter or son will inheriting this piece someday.

I have heard great things about Staub as well, but I do not have first hand experience with them.
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Old 04-07-2008, 04:02 PM   #4
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I used LC for years. They were excellent and among my favorite pots in a very well supplied kitchen. They took a lot of use and held up very well.

In general I am a bargain hunter and I also think people are often goaded into spending way to much on high-end kitchenware but in the case of LC I am holding off until I can afford the real thing.

All of the alternative brands and knockoffs I have looked at just dont feel right. The enamel on LC is a great quality.

Staub is a well respected brand too though there are some differences my understanding they are comperable quality (no personal experience).

I would choose by the shapes and sizes that you will use the most.

Personally a medium 3-4qt and a larger 8-10 qt DO cover my needs very well. I feel like more would just be extraneous. Personally I prefer the round ones not sure why maybe just because they are what I am used to.

There is certainly no need to have every size in every shape.
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:07 PM   #5
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I have and extensively use LeCreuset and IKEA (Senior brand) pans, they are workhorses.
A friend of mine owns Staub and I must say that is also terrific (I've used too).

I am not sure about Batali's brand. Is made in China and I've seen some pieces in the local TJMaxx clearance section with chips on the enamel.
Perhaps is due to mishandling of the pans; but as an example, last Thanksgiving, I step into ice on a parking lot carrying a 7Qt LeCreuset Dutch Oven full of beef Stroganoff. I ended up on my back and of course, I dropped the pan only to find some minor -almost insignificant-scratches.

If you are thinking about buying small size pans, check the size of the burners you have and select the pan size accordingly (on LeCreuset, the size of the pan is listed in cm on the inside of the lid as a plain number like 25 or 30, divide by 2.5 to get the size in inches)
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:58 AM   #6
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If you have a problem with the Batali pot after 30 days, I have it on good authority from someone repping their wares that you are on your own. CI recently rated cast iron dutch ovens, and I thought the Tramontina fared well. It was interesting to see their notes on how well the lids seal, the handles hold up, etc. I am sold on LC, personally. A bargain is a bargain, but a tool that you use regularly for a lifetime is really an investment that (IMHO) warrants consideration beyond a good bargain. And I am all about saving money, trust me. I love Ikea for some things, but cookware is not one of them.

You might seek out a TJ Maxx/Homegoods, Marshall's or Tuesday Morning for bargains on high-end LC pieces. I'd be apt to go that route before settling for less.
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Old 04-20-2008, 11:16 PM   #7
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I've also only used LC and I love, love, LOVE it! BTW, I was at TJ Maxx and Homegoods today, and last week and they've gotten in a few LC pieces so you may want to take a look near you for any good deals. I wouldn't hesitate to buy more LC, and probably not Staub either from all the wonderful things I've heard about it. I've never seen the Ikea so I won't comment on that. I've seen the Mario Batali at Home Goods and it looked okay, but I wouldn't buy it b/c it's Made in China and I try to buy items that I know or believe to be made using fair practices.
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Old 04-21-2008, 09:05 AM   #8
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Thank so much for the wonderful input. I've decided to go ahead and keep them all! In fact, I've added more to my collection. I love the Staub colors and quality as well as the LC. The Mario Batali style is nice and the IKEA is also functional. I guess I will start "mood cooking" when it comes to choosing which vessel to use:) Thankfully, I've found room in my kitchen by adding wire shelving in my cabinets and walk-in pantry.
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Old 04-21-2008, 10:12 AM   #9
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I have much Le Crueset (Costco has a 3 piece set on sale right now...saucier and skillet in blue or red $189) and it is awesome stuff. Straub also has a great reputation, but I only own 1 piece. No problems with it.

I liked the look and feel of the Batali and bought a couple pieces, but had to send one back for interior flaws (holes) in the enamelling. The replacement piece I was sent was worse. Then I tapped a wooden spoon on the side of the 6 qt pot to shake the sauce off it and chipped the enamel!!!!!! I will not buy another piece (of anybody's ) made in China. The quality is not the same and that is why the price is so cheap.
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Old 04-21-2008, 12:14 PM   #10
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I like Le Creuset cookware also and have quite a lot of pieces.

Cousances (which has been bought out by Le Creuset) is good also and makes a few different pieces unavailable in Le Creuset.

In the secondary market, Copco and Descoware are fantastic enameled cast iron cookware.
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Old 04-23-2008, 07:25 PM   #11
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I will only buy LC or Descoware. The pieces I have are all second hand. I have lucked out in that area. I have found an LC 3qt sauce pan with skillet lid, LC grill skillet, 5qt Descoware DO, and a 4qt Descoware DO all at thrift stores. I would still like a larger DO but I don't know where in the world I would put it, LOL. I have spent a total of about $50 on everything I have bought so far. I will never buy LC or Descoware new. I love my pans. If you can find them, second hand is the way to go.
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:10 AM   #12
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That has always been my philosophy.
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:52 AM   #13
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Premium Outlets

If you have a premium outlets mall nearby, they have a LeCreuset outlet store. Our's has bonafide new in many colors. They also have a bigger selection of factory seconds. They have imperfections - I looked at a frypan that had overspray of the enamel onto the black frypan surface.

Didn't study the others too much - we're stocked pretty well. I bought a nice round dutch oven (9qt I think) at Tuesday Morning. It was not a factory second & has full new product warranty.
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:54 AM   #14
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I guess I'll put my $0.02 in.

I have a Calphalon DO that performs great. It's very easy to clean and performs well. The lid is tight fitting and the handles are a decent size to get a good grip on.

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Old 06-06-2008, 07:49 PM   #15
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I have an Ikea (7 litres I believe) that I was given but retails for 35 in the uk (oval shape)
For the price it's an amazing piece of cookware, but it is noticable that it does not spread the heat as well as the Le Creuset stuff (which I have used but do not yet own because it's too expensive)

You can also see from looking at it that it is not an even thickness of cast iron all over.

Although this sounds negative - for 35 it's an amazing piece of cookware and I use it constantly. The heat may not spread completely evening, but it still kills everything else I own that isn't made of cast iron!

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Old 06-10-2008, 09:05 AM   #16
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I will put in my vote for BOTH LeCreuset and Staub. Each are highly durable, very effective, and attractive brands of cookware. With the exception of Staub's "Basix" line, their product line does not have an enameled interior, it's a "seasoned" surface; but this works just as well as an enameled surface in my experience. I own a 5 qt. oval (pimento red) Staub, and love cooking in it. In fact, I plan to purchase some more Staub pieces in the near future... maybe a braiser, or a larger oval oven.

My more extensive lineup of LeCreuset cookware includes a few older (and perfectly usable) pieces that my grandmother gave me-- she is 93, and the cookware must be at least 40+ years old. Still cooks beautifully.
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