We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›
Other than perhaps the Crock-Pot, a Dutch oven is the most important cookware in a game chef’s kitchen. However, you can’t throw a Crock-Pot into a fire like you can a Dutch Oven and come out with anything but a molten mess. Dutch ovens are suited for an open flame or bed of hot coals, and from tenderizing venison shoulder to baking cherry cobbler, a cast-iron Dutch oven is about as foolproof as cooking wild game gets. Here’s what to look for.
Properly seasoned and maintained, a solid cast-iron Dutch oven only gets better with age. Some versions come unseasoned, while others are pre-treated at the factory. But either way, they are almost indestructible. A light rinse with mildly soapy water and a wipe with vegetable oil is all it takes to get a lifetime of service out of a cast-iron Dutch oven. If you plan to do a lot of cooking over an open fire, consider a cast-iron model with legs as it is easier to shovel coals underneath for even cooking.
Dutch ovens work like a regular oven by setting up internal convection currents. Enameled cast iron is particularly good at heat retention and distribution. It’s classy looks will appeal to even to most refined home chef, and the knobs on enameled cookware usually are made of a better insulating material than the one-piece cast-iron handles, which can burn an incautious cook.
A Dutch oven does not have to me made of cast-iron. Contemporary, non-stick models are made of anodized aluminum with non-stick coatings that make cleaning up a breeze. Wash and rinse by hand, or just pop it in the dishwasher. Aluminum Dutch-ovens are lighter than cast iron and also offer the option of transparent lids with heat-resistant handles.