Pre-seasoned, 5-quart dutch oven with self-basting lid and excellent heat distribution and retention
The Lodge L8DOL3 is one of the smaller dutch ovens available at 5 quarts, but you’re still able to make a large amount of food for gatherings or if you’re planning on leftovers. The self-basting lid and cast-iron construction create a perfect cooking environment for juicy, evenly-heated dishes whether you’re searing or slow-cooking. The L8DOL3 comes pre-seasoned, which has its benefits, but also drawbacks, which will be discussed.
5-quarts of durable cast-iron
The L8DOL3 is made from cast-iron, which is one of the best metals for retaining heat and for slow, even cooking. Even the lid is cast-iron, so the whole unit works as one. In terms of this dutch oven’s size, you can hold 5 quarts, or 20 cups, of food like chili and soup, and also large cuts of meat complete with veggies and potatoes.
The lid, in addition to being made of cast-iron, is domed and self-basting, so moisture that is attempting to escape is trapped inside the oven. This results in juicier food, which is especially important if you’re slow cooking foods like ribs or pork, which tends to dry out. The lid has loop handles attached, so carrying the dutch oven is convenient and safe.
Cast-iron that hasn’t been enameled in porcelain needs to be seasoned. Rather than having to do it yourself, the Lodge L8DOL3 dutch oven comes pre-seasoned with Lodge’s special vegetable-oil formula. Having this pre-seasoning means you can use less oil in cooking and have a built-in nonstick surface. However, the pre-seasoning on this particular model isn’t perfect. Look to the “Weaknesses” section to learn more.
Can be used for slow cooking or searing
Your food preparation options are essentially limitless with the Lodge. Because the cast-iron is so good at getting hot and locking in that heat, you can sear or slow cook. There aren’t really other pieces of cookware that are good for these two extremes, but the Lodge L8DOL3 widens your cooking (and baking and frying and simmering) horizons.
In general, maintenance on this dutch oven is low. Right before you use it, you just have to spray on some veggie oil, and then when you’re ready to clean it up, scrub the bottom with a brush and hot water, and then dry. No soap required.
The Lodge isn’t particularly light or heavy. Dutch ovens that are too light are usually too thin, and tend to burn food. Ovens that are too heavy are just inconvenient and can be dangerous. The L8DOL3 is about 13 pounds, so it’s heavy-duty without being painful to move around. It also has handles, so you always feel secure.
The pre-seasoning on this Lodge isn’t very good. It tends to come off fairly quickly, and doesn’t do its job at preventing rust. You might be better off if you just wash off the pre-seasoning when the pot comes (you can use oven cleaner), and bake in the seasoning yourself. Once this is taken care of, the oven functions normally.
While the big selling point of this oven – the pre-seasoning – isn’t great, the Lodge L8DOL3 5-Quart Dutch Oven offers many other notable features. It’s a great size and weight for most families, and the cast-iron construction provides both durability and superior heat distribution and retention. The cast-iron lid works to seal in moisture, so no dishes dry out even while they’re being cooked slowly. The dutch oven is also able to sear, so you can make dishes like tuna steak.