Kitchen Appliance Advice

Dutch Oven Buying Advice

Dutch ovens are the perfect outdoor cooking devices for any type of outdoor activity. But you don't have to go on an outdoor trip to enjoy Dutch oven cooking. You can cook right in your own backyard. Instead of barbecuing, cook food in a Dutch oven! Fire up the briquettes and start cooking away. Your guests will be invited back by the intense flavors.

Dutch Oven
There are basically two types of Dutch ovens around us. Most ovens people used to use are generally made of heavy cast iron, have three short legs on the bottom, and a tight fitting lid with a lip or ridge around the outer edge for holding coals and for keeping ash from falling into the food. These ovens are commonly referred to as "Camp" or "Outdoor" Dutch ovens. Cast iron oven requires protection from rust. Bare cast iron rusts very quickly so it must be greased to protect the metal. This process is usually done by burning some kind of oil or animal fat into the pores of the metal forming a hard protective barrier. Soap should never be used to clean a seasoned oven because it will dissolve the formed protective barrier and embed itself into the pores of the metal where it will return to taint your next meal.

The second type of ovens are also generally made of heavy cast iron, have a flat bottom with no legs, and have a highly domed basting lid without an outer rim. These ovens are commonly referred to as "Bean Pots" or "Kitchen" ovens. These ovens can be used with briquettes, but their flat bottom is better suited for use on a stove top or in your kitchen oven. Aluminum Dutch oven is easier to maintain. Because it doesn't rust you can wash aluminum ovens in mild soap and water. Because aluminum reacts quickly to changes in temperature it is much harder to keep at a constant temperature on a windy day.

With so many sizes and shapes of Dutch ovens to select from, picking the right oven is a big key to cooking great food. Shorter standard ovens spread heat to the center of the oven faster than deeper ovens so they are good for cooking foods that need higher temperatures. Deep Dutch ovens on the other hand are ideal for cooking foods at lower temperatures or where you want to control the amount of heat on top of the oven for things such as rolls and bread where you want even browning. The oven size in inches (diameter and depth) will determine how much room you have for your food. You can determine which one to pick according to the food amount you will prepare for.

Buying Tips:
When you select your Dutch oven, the walls of the oven should be the same thickness all the way around. Carefully check the oven's bail, it should be made of sturdy heavy gage wire and be securely attached to molded, not riveted, tangs on the side of the oven. Rivets can break off under a heavy load, such as when the oven is full of food. Make sure the bail is long enough that it can be lowered around one side of the oven without hanging on the lid. The bail should also stand up at a 45?angle on the opposite side which will keep the bail from getting hot, and will also offer easier access to it when positioning the oven or removing it from heat.

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