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Old 02-24-2008, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Jollyville, TX
3,704 posts, read 9,095,596 times
Reputation: 4068

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I'm in the market for a new dutch oven and have always wanted a Le Crueset but didn't want to shell out the big bucks. I went shopping and I noticed a lot of knock-offs - Penney's has a "Cooks" version, Calphalon has come out with their version of enamel over cast iron and even Rachael Ray has a line of cookware out (although the orange color would look hideous in my kitchen, lol). Has anyone tried any of the cheaper brands - are they as good? Even though they are less than Le Crueset, they're still not that cheap though and I don't want to spend $80 for a piece of cookware and be disappointed. Looking for opinions!
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Old 02-24-2008, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Toronto
347 posts, read 863,334 times
Reputation: 930
I can't speak from personal experience, but America's Test Kitchen tested several brands and named Target's Chefmate Round Enameled Cast Iron Casserole as its Best Buy (39.95). They also liked the Mario Batali brand (about $100). There's good data on their web site.
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Old 02-24-2008, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Piedmont NC
4,597 posts, read 10,227,249 times
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What about a good, old-fashioned cast iron Dutch oven? I have specifically asked for my Mother's, which had been her mother's, when she is willing to pass it on. You cannot beat one, and it's no heavier than the others, which always made me shy-away from the Le Crueset line of cookware, which are beautiful, but for everyday, too heavy for me -- and I'm no limp-wrist. Cast iron is expensive, too, however, but the pieces my family owns and passes down, last several lifetimes, and are as great or better than nonstick varieties for a lot of reasons.

Rachel Ray's line comes in other colors. I have seen a pretty yellow and a royal blue.

Check out a TJ Maxx or Home Goods or Marshall's if you are near the stores. They get beautiful top lines of cookware, Le Crueset included, from time to time. I recently purchased a fantastic stainless pot with two strainers, included. It is fantastic for pasta, and boiling potatoes, and the smaller strainer with handles lets me steam veggies. Nice glass lid, and heavy, heavy bottom perfect for my gas stove top.
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:04 PM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
34,549 posts, read 42,708,506 times
Reputation: 57209
I second the motion of rdslots. I always get my expensive cookware at Marshalls. You have to go regularly to find different pieces, but I've saved hundreds of dollars. They almost always have a few pieces of LeCrueset.
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:35 PM
 
184 posts, read 1,374,190 times
Reputation: 192
I used to have all Le Creuset cookware until I got a RSI (repetitive stress injury, precursor to carpal tunnel syndrome). They were heavy before that happened, but afterward they were impossible.

Too bad I don't still have them, I'd send the whole bunch to you gratis. None of my friends wanted heavy cookware either, so except for a small 2-quart dutch oven which I kept (THAT, I can manage to lift!) my entire collection (literally hundreds of dollars worth) ended up being donated to a local charity thrift shop.

The big dutch ovens were the worst to manage. Even pre-injury, I was always afraid I'd drop it midway between the sink and the stove top or oven. If I had, it would have destroyed the tile floor in an instant.
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:55 PM
 
2,141 posts, read 7,036,503 times
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Le Crueset is a good brand but I had a bad experience with my Dutch Oven. A cooking accident if you will. While cooking something in it and not stirring it enough, food burned and got totally encrusted onto the bottom of the pan. NOTHING I tired could get the bottom of the pan clean and I ultimately threw it out. Granted, I had it for years but it was a shame.
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:59 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
10,716 posts, read 31,030,974 times
Reputation: 6654
Lisa, you should have contacted the company, they could have either told you how to get it off OR replace it, they have a lifetime warranty.

I have several pieces of Le Creuset that I purchased more then 15 years ago and they are in great shape. My Mother has pieces of the Flame Le Creuset that she has had since the 60's.

Check in your area, they have a Le Creuset outlet in Orlando and the prices are wonderful. They also sometimes have pieces at Costco as well.
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 21,516,228 times
Reputation: 19858
I inherited my le Creuset and they have lasted beautifully. They are very heavy though but I do really like enamel cookware as it seems to cook things like casseroles wonderfully.
Le Creuset is very expensive, maybe you could try the very similar but much cheaper ( in Europe anyway) Le Chasseur. I can't see any difference between them , I have to say.

Le Creuset pots and pans distributes heat very evenly and is really a very good way to cook but they can be unwieldy and you have to be careful not to drop them on your tiles or even worse your feet !
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:30 PM
 
Location: northeast US
739 posts, read 1,820,234 times
Reputation: 446
I hope you all don't mind a guy cook chiming in...I also always see LeCreuset at TJMaxx and Marshals at great prices.

My preference for a Dutch oven, at a fraction of the price, would be old fashioned cast iron bought at a discount store. Otherwise, get the very best and if that means Le Creuset to you, you'll never regret it.

I've been cooking on top-of-the-line All Clad for so many years now, I wouldn't use anything else. It was expensive, and there are also some European brands in the same league that are good too, but I've never regretted paying a high price to know I have the best. All Clad cooks so much better and looks great hanging on the pot rack.

For burned on crud, I don't throw the pan away. I take the pan out in the back yard and use spray-on oven cleaner on it a few times until most of it lifts off with the hose.
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:04 PM
 
336 posts, read 1,362,053 times
Reputation: 256
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonlady View Post
I'm in the market for a new dutch oven and have always wanted a Le Crueset but didn't want to shell out the big bucks. I went shopping and I noticed a lot of knock-offs - Penney's has a "Cooks" version, Calphalon has come out with their version of enamel over cast iron and even Rachael Ray has a line of cookware out (although the orange color would look hideous in my kitchen, lol). Has anyone tried any of the cheaper brands - are they as good? Even though they are less than Le Crueset, they're still not that cheap though and I don't want to spend $80 for a piece of cookware and be disappointed. Looking for opinions!

All my stuff is le crueset. I buy it on ebay and at tag sales.
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