An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven can hold heat and lock in moisture. This makes it a perfect piece of cookware for preparing juicy, fall-apart tender steaks.
Read on to know more about Dutch ovens and how you can achieve melt-in-your-mouth steaks using this kitchen equipment.
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How to Cook a Perfect Steak in Enameled Cast Iron | Everything You Need to Know
What Is Cast Iron Cookware?
As the name suggests, cast iron cookware is cast from iron and molten steel. It’s unlike other products that are made of stainless steel or aluminum. Cast iron cookware is thick, heavy, and almost unbreakable, making it one of the kitchen tools worth investing in. You can hand it down through many generations, as it can last for decades or even a century!
Cast iron can withstand both low and high temperatures, that’s why it’s dubbed as the “kitchen workhorse”. It’s oven-safe and holds up well in stovetop and open fires–even in campfires. And since it can stand up to consistent heat, this cookware can enhance the flavor of dishes. Plus, its heat retention also allows you to cook meals slowly so you can get fork-tender results.
Some of the most common types of cast iron cookware include:
- Cast iron skillet
- Grill pan
- Dutch oven
- Other types of pans, such as loaf pan, cornstick pan, muffin pan, fluted cake pan, pizza-baking pan, wedge pan, and fluted cake pan
Of this cookware, we’ll focus on Dutch ovens.
Dutch oven is a large oval or round pot with a lid and handles. Its size ranges from one up to 13 quarts. It’s such versatile cookware that you may use it for almost all cooking methods–braising, steaming, deep-frying, and baking, even for cooking stews and soups.
What Is Enameled Cast Iron Cookware?
You may be wondering, what then is an enameled cast iron cookware? It’s basically an enhanced version of a regular cast iron that’s coated with enamel. This coating serves as the cookware’s protective layer against unwanted substances like rust. It offers the same heat distribution and retention as regular cast iron pans. You may also use any ingredients with it.
However, an enameled cast iron provides the best results when used on a stovetop. It’s unlike traditional cast iron wherein the heat sources can be both indoor and outdoor. But the good thing about an enameled cast iron is its maintenance. Unlike regular cast iron, you don’t need to season its metal prior to using it. You may also easily clean it up with soap and water.
What Do You Need to Know When Cooking in Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Ovens?
Before you turn up that flame on your stove, there are some things you need to know about enameled cast iron Dutch ovens.
Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven Works Best over Medium Heat
Regular cast iron cookware works well on low to high heat, but enamel prefers mostly medium temperatures. This means that enameled cast iron isn’t ideal for searing meat. What you can do instead is sear the meat using a cast-iron skillet, then move it to your Dutch oven. You may use an enameled Dutch oven for searing, but this might result in staining, which can be tough to remove.
Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven Can Be Fragile
As mentioned before that cast iron cookware is almost indestructible. However, its enamel counterpart can be a bit more brittle. Bump it on your stove grates and you might scratch it. Slide it on your burners and you might damage it. Keep in mind to treat your enameled cookware kindly, and avoid putting it over high heat. Otherwise, surface chipping and cracking might occur, and you don’t want that to happen.
How Do You Cook Steaks in Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Ovens?
If there’s one technique that every owner of an enameled cookware has to learn, it’s how to cook steak perfectly. With an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, you can create restaurant-quality steaks. But you have to use it together with a cast-iron skillet, a stove, and an oven so you can achieve that perfect sear. As a bonus, we’ll also share how you can create a simple sauce that’ll complement the natural juices and flavors of your steak.
Ingredients (for the Steak)
- 1 (12-ounce) ribeye steak, ½-inch thick
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Ingredients (for the Sauce)
- 1 tbsp butter
- ⅓ cup red wine
- 1 shallot, diced
Directions (for the Steak)
- Preheat your oven. Set it to 350 degrees.
- Rub olive oil all over your steak until both sides have a light coating. Then, sprinkle some salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside.
- Get your cast-iron skillet, then set your stove to high heat. Preheat the skillet on your stovetop until it’s smoking hot.
- Place your ribeye steak on the cast iron skillet. Cook for three minutes. As your steak cooks, don’t move it so you can get a perfect sear.
- After three minutes, flip the steak, and cook the other side for another three minutes.
- Afterward, transfer the steak to your enameled cast iron Dutch oven. Then, place it inside your preheated oven.
- The cooking time depends on your preferred doneness level:
- Rare: 4 minutes
- Medium-rare: 5 minutes
- Medium: 6 minutes
- Place the steak on a plate. Set it aside and let it rest as you prepare the sauce.
Directions (for the Sauce)
- Deglaze the cast iron skillet using red wine.
- Then, put it on the stovetop. Set the stove to high heat.
- Get a wooden spatula, and scrape up pieces of meat that were stuck to the surface of your skillet. These bits can enhance the taste of your steak sauce.
- Put the diced shallots in the red wine, and cook them until they’re soft.
- Add butter, then stir.
- Pour the sauce over your steak. Alternatively, you may serve it on the side.
How Do You Cook Other Steak Recipes in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven?
There are several ways how you can cook a steak, and you can do all of them in a cast iron dutch oven. Just remember to always start by searing your steak, and avoid moving it as it cooks. After learning how to perfect your sears, you may already experiment, mix things up, make a few changes, and tweak some cooking methods.
Here are some suggestions you can do to your steak recipes:
- Aside from salt and pepper, you may also try to add parsley, garlic, and onion powder to your steaks.
- If you want to infuse some herbal flavors into your steaks, you may put rosemary or thyme, and apply melted butter on them before placing them into the oven.
- To make the sauce richer, you may add some cream or blue cheese.
As an alternative, you may also cook steaks in regular cast iron pots (which aren’t enameled). Here’s how:
- Season your steak.
- Take your cast iron Dutch oven, remove its lid, and preheat it by putting it over an open fire. Remember that bare cast iron can withstand high heat, unlike enameled cast iron which you can use only over low to medium heat. Additionally, regular cast iron requires preheating.
- And since you’ll cook your steak outdoors this time, you have to build a solid bed of coals. Arrange the coals, and spread them out evenly in a single layer.
- Put your cast iron Dutch oven on this bed of coals, and load some more coals on the lid.
- Place your steak inside the cookware, then sear them for about a minute for each side.
- After searing both sides, flip the steak on its original side, then cover your Dutch oven.
- Cook your steaks based on your preferred doneness level. As a guide, a medium-rare would require around three minutes (one and half minutes per side).
What Are the Best Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Ovens?
To get you started with your Dutch oven cooking and gastronomic journey, here are some of the best iron pots you can easily get through Amazon:
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Round Deep Oven with Lid, 5.25 Quart, Sea Salt
- Enameled cast iron delivers superior heat distribution and retention
- Ready to use, requires no seasoning
- Easy-to-clean and durable enamel resists dulling, staining, chipping and cracking
- Light colored smooth interior enamel allows easy monitoring of cooking progress
- Tight-fitting lids are specially designed to circulate steam and return moisture back to the food
If you’re looking for exceptional cast-iron work, this Dutch oven from Le Creuset is your best option. It may be one of the most high-priced on the market, but its enamel coating is the best in class. It’s smooth, durable, and easy to clean.
This piece is built to last, which makes it a worthy investment. You can pass it on as an heirloom piece to your children and then to your children’s children.
Staub 5 1/2-Qt. Round Dutch Oven Color: Grenadine
$191.33 in stock
- Made in France
If the thickness is your first priority, then this workhorse from Staub is the one you can depend on. It’s heavy-duty plus it’s also cheaper than the other cast iron pots. It differs from Le Creuset and Lodge, as it has a black enamel interior. This means that you don’t have to worry about discoloration.
It’s also a fan favorite because of its lid. It features small bumps under the lid, which help sustain moisture inside the cookware. These little nubs basically catch condensation, then they drip it back down, so the food would be able to keep its own juices.
Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 7.5 Qt, Storm Blue & Pan Scrapers. Handheld Polycarbonate Cast Iron Pan Cleaners. (2-Pack. Red/Black)
- Product 1: A flawless pairing of form and function that doesn't quit, the Lodge Dutch Oven is an enameled cast iron classic that's great for preparing and serving memorable meals.
- Product 1: WHAT IS PORCELAIN ENAMEL ON CAST IRON? It is actually glass that becomes bonded to the cast iron at high temperatures. A particulate of glass, called frit, is applied to the cast iron vessel and then baked at temperatures between 1200 and 1400° F. The glass frit melts and fuses to the cast iron, forming a bond. Porcelain enamel on cast iron is heat tolerant and impervious to water and other consumables.
- Product 1: MAKE EVERY MEAL A MEMORY. Lodge knows that cooking is about more than just the food; it’s about the memories.
- Product 1: FAMILY-OWNED. Lodge is more than just a business; it’s a family. The Lodge family founded the company in 1896, and they still own it today. From environmental responsibility to community development, their heads and hearts are rooted in America. All Lodge seasoned cast iron and carbon steel cookware is proudly made in the USA, meaning you’ll get craftsmanship that has been passed down through generations. Lodge Enameled Iron products are made in China to strict metallurgical and casting specifications.
- Product 2: Pan Scrapers – Includes 1 Red and 1 Black Scraper
Perhaps the cheapest Dutch oven out there, this enameled cast iron from Lodge may be the most practical piece of cookware you can have in your kitchen. It costs one-third of the price of its competitors but functions just the same.
Its two layers of porcelain enamel are chip-proof and dishwasher-safe. It’s also one of the most versatile, as your color options abound, and the sizes range from 1.5 to 7.5 quarts.
How Do You Choose the Best Enameled Cast Iron Cookware?
If you don’t have an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven yet and you’re thinking of getting one, here are the factors you need to consider so you can make the right choice:
The Dutch oven is such a practical and versatile pot because of its enamel coating. It’s also what gives protection to the interior of the cookware.
With regard to the interiors, there are two common varieties of enameled cast iron cookware:
- Light-colored sand interior enamel: This smooth, glossy enamel allows you to easily and visually monitor your food.
- Black enamel interior: This matte and textured enamel is much easier to clean and is best suited for higher-temperature cooking.
For a Dutch oven to last long, it needs to have some weight. To guide you when buying, feel its thickness and weight. A two-gallon Dutch oven weighing more or less 18 pounds is already of good quality.
A Dutch oven must have a tight-fitting lid that is made from enameled cast iron as well. This is necessary, as its lid must seal the cookware and help keep the moisture inside. Additionally, it must have a knob that can also withstand high heat.
When it comes to handles, durability is key. You must feel comfortable and confident as you carry the Dutch oven, especially when it’s fully loaded. The handles’ size must also be big enough, so you can easily grab the pot even if you’re wearing oven mitts.
The heating limitations of your enameled cast iron cookware should either meet or exceed your cooking requirements. For instance, if you’ll use your Dutch oven in baking, make sure that it’s oven-safe and can withstand up to around 500 degrees. But if you’ll use it only on stoves, then you may opt for a pot with lower heat capacity.
If you prefer a Dutch oven with a light-colored sand interior, stick with silicone and wood utensils. Metal utensils won’t scar your cookware, but they might leave visible marks on the surface.
In Conclusion… Go Dutch!
There are plenty of reasons why enameled cast iron cookware is loved in many kitchens. It’s functional, durable, dependable, and versatile among others. It can handle a lot of cooking techniques, one of which is creating a perfect steak.
So, what are you waiting for? Prepare your Dutch oven, bring out your steaks and wine, follow the recipe above, and get ready to have a taste of heaven.
Are you ready to cook some steaks like a chef? Head on to the recipes page for more recipes and you might just get some ideas on what to serve with your steak.