Lodge Enamel v. Le Creuset

Discussion in 'The Mess Hall' started by Spivey, Feb 6, 2013.

    Hi, everybody.

    We had a 6-qt Lodge Enamel dutch oven (purchased from Wal Mart) for about 3 years. About a month ago, we noticed that the enamel had started to chip. My wife called Lodge, she sent some pictures, and she answered some of their questions. They replaced our dutch oven. Obviously, I'm pretty happy.

    This got me wondering...how much better are the Le Creuset, really? I understand that the enamel is not as thick as the Lodge; how much life does that add to the piece?

    My understanding is that ours chipped because we were heating it empty. Not with extremely high heat, but empty. I learned much of what I know of cooking from Jeff Smith: hot pan, cold oil. I've adjusted that technique for the Lodge. We'll see how long we have this one.

    FWIW, the Lodge has been our favorite in the kitchen by far. Have any of you much experience with both?

  1. I only buy Le Creuset. Have pots that are 20 yo and still doing fine. I like that they are not made in China also
  2. Jeff Smith - The Frugal Gourmet! I do the same with my Le Crueset DO, hot pan cold oil. I've had it many years and have had no issues. They are many times more expensive than the Lodges, but sometimes you can find decent deals at TJ Maxx or Burlington.
  3. If you can find a deal go Le Crueset! Personally I don't find the difference in price representative in the difference of quality.
  4. Phog Allen

    Phog Allen Contributor

    If the Lodge suffices and holds up then use it and be happy. Saying that I have rather large Le Creuset in blue enamel and its finish is much better than the Lodge. Quality is evident. Two points. It is much more expensive than Lodge. We also bought it at a LC outlet as a second. You can barely tell it is not perfect. It dropped the price from nearly $300 to around $175. Still a very expensive piece. My wife surprised me with it one day. Good wife.

    Cheers, Todd
  5. I have a Kirkland from Costco, and have been more than pleased with it... I'd love a Le Creuset, but just can't afford it. Oddly enough, the instructions that came with it specified to preheat before putting anything in it.
  6. That saying really applies to cookware with metal surfaces. Not so much for nonstick or enamel. You should be able to safely preheat the pot on about a medium level burner and turn it up just before you add the food.
  7. Enameled cast iron should not chip. Maybe if you hurl it at a large boulder or strike it forcefully with a metal utensil, but this should not happen with regular kitchen use, no matter how you heat it.

    I've got some Le Creuset pieces that have been used hard for over 50 years and they're fine, so I do think there is a quality difference. The last time I was in Macy's, I noticed that some of their lower-priced enameled cast iron pieces on display were chipped - that's ridiculous for something that should last decades. Given that Le Creuset provides a lifetime warranty and I have never had any sort of issue with the dozen or so pieces I have, I wholeheartedly recommend them.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  8. I've used both Le Creuset and Lodge enameled cast iron as well as a lot of naked Lodge cast iron for about five years and had nothing but wonderful experiences.

    Clearly the Le Creuset has a finer finish and the Lodge pans have thicker cast iron, but as far as the cooking qualities that a heavy pan give, there's no difference between the two.
  9. Thanks, everybody. The good news (in case you missed it) is that Lodge replaced the DO. Clearly the issue was QC with that piece. I'm very glad that they stood by their product. As I said, we've really enjoyed it.

    So, I guess the moral here is: if you can't afford Le Creuset, you can buy Lodge with the confidence that they will stand by their product.
  10. I have several pieces of Le Creuset that were purchased 20+ years ago at an LC outlet. They are still a mainstay in my kitchen, get frequent hard use, and despite starting to look a little less than perfect cosmetically, still perform as well as the day they came home with me. I suspect they will last at least as long as I do!
  11. ouch

    ouch Moderator Emeritus

    Some folks rate Staub above Le Creuset, but I have an LC from 1975 that's still going strong.
  12. my 5 1/2 le creuset is a workhorse and it never leaves the cook top. these things are heirloom pieces. a sound investment and highly recommended.
  13. Good to know, glad your issue was resolved. Much of my current frustration in life seems to be, getting satisfaction from a business, company etc. when I have a problem that I didn't create. I worked retail grocery for fifteen + years, some in management, so I gave away a lot of discounts, Freebies for customer satisfaction issues.

    I love Le Creuset, I just received a 6.75 Qt Oval piece for Christmas. A happy thrift store moment was finding a like new, blue Le Creuset grill pan for 15 bucks a few years ago. My naked cast iron is all reconditioned thrift store pieces, I can't resist picking them up for a song. My wife thinks I'm nuts, God help me when I need to move all of them again.

    I also grew up watching cooking shows on PBS, Frugal Gourmet...sad ending to his story. I have a bunch of his cookbooks, found at the thrift store, usually pay a few bucks for them.

    If only the French would have let Le Creuset build their tanks during WWII :tank: :lol:
  14. Phog Allen

    Phog Allen Contributor

    Have you ever used a Staub piece? I am not familiar with them other than hearing the name. That blue enamel LC the wife bought me is splendid. I cannot remember the precise qt./ltr. measurement but the lid has a '30' cast into it. I would say it is around twelve U.S. quarts. We do not use it enough really. I am amazed every time we braise a roast or whatever in it at how well it turns out. I need to make a big batch of Boeuf Bourguignon before spring sets in. It is always better in cold weather. As an aside I seem to remember mentioning using a cheap pinot noir for the dish and you may have made a suggestion for something else. Do you remember what it may have been? Thanks.

    Cheers, Todd
  15. In case any members are unfamiliar with the Le Creuset enameled cast iron ware, I'm throwing up a few pics of a 5 1/2 quart doufeu dutch oven that I sold to another B&Ber last spring. Although this particular piece didn't get super regular use like some folks do, I had had this oven for more than fifteen years prior when I took these photos. Still looks pretty spiffy if you ask me.

    I do tend to try and feel/scrutinize other enameled cast iron lines when I run across them in different stores. While I agree that some of the lesser lines can have rougher fit and finishes and are made in China, do not in any way let that deter you from getting started from using these amazing types of slow-cooking ovens because they're not Le Creuset. And those who really want a Le Creuset, definitely try the LC Outlets for a "second" or discontinued color (who cares?) or used wares on ebay.
    $a.jpg $b.jpg $c.jpg
  16. Yep. My knockoff (made in France FWIW) cooks dang well... during the winter it practically lives on my stove.
  17. Alacrity59

    Alacrity59 Moderator Emeritus

    Between pressure cooker and slow cooker I don't used my enameled pot very often. What dishes do you find work best in your enameled pot?
  18. Anything that you would cook in your slow cooker - which is just an electric dutch oven when you get right down to it. Beans, soups, stews, curries, spaghetti sauce, pot roasts, practically anything which requires require slow cooking or long simmering except for stocks.
  19. Neither. Get a Staub.

    I would be one of those people :lol:

    Le Creuset is an excellent company with excellent products, but in my opinion, Staub eclipses them. Staubs pieces have basting spikes (newer Le Creuset pieces might, but mine does not). I also like how you can exchange the handles and the fact that they are not plastic, like Le Creuset's are.

    In the end, you will be happy regardless of which you get, but I think Staub is the better of the two. I think this is reinforced by the fact that the Food Network does not have them on their shows.

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