I Tried Lodge’s New Lightweight, Triple-Seasoned Dutch Oven — Here Are My Honest Thoughts
Every cook knows about Lodge cast iron — affordable, rugged, and made in Tennessee since the turn of the 20th Century. But not every home cook knows that the company launched a new line of higher-end pieces the summer of 2019. The Blacklock line looks like the rest of the brand’s seasoned, non-enameled cast iron, but it sports some key differences: namely its weight, seasoning, and price tag.
The Blacklock line is vintage-inspired and was introduced to commemorate the company’s long history. It’s named after the original foundry that burned down in 1910, and each piece is emblazoned with a number representing a milestone along the company’s timeline. The 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven is the 02, so named for 2002, the year Lodge first introduced pre-seasoned cookware, a feature that was revolutionary at the time and so well-received it became an industry game-changer.
Related: I Tried Lodge’s Vintage-Inspired Cast Iron Skillet — Here’s What I Thought
But the Blacklock Dutch oven and line isn’t just seasoned, it’s triple seasoned. The pieces are also 25 percent lighter than Lodge’s cheaper cookware, similar to the highly coveted antique cast iron cookware people bid for on Ebay. And special embellishments, like condensation rings under the lid and an intricate Blacklock logo on the underside of the pot, add to its cache.
Related: This $50 Pot Is a Dutch Oven and a Cast Iron Skillet — And Quite Possibly the Holy Grail of Cookware
But all of that come at a cost. The Blacklock Dutch oven costs $150. By contrast, the classic 5-quart Dutch oven is usually around $50. Is the Blacklock worth the extra dough? I put one through its paces to find out.
After opening the specially designed cardboard box, I immediately noticed how relatively light the pot is — just over 11 pounds with the lid on. That’s almost 2 pounds lighter than the classic, and the Double Dutch. It’s also about a pound lighter than my similarly sized enamel cast iron Dutch ovens — all except my Le Creuset, which weighs about the same.
The surface looked super dark-black and shiny. I had no doubts about how well it was seasoned, and the first thing I cooked proved me right. I made a batch of pork and green chile stew, and even made a simultaneous batch in the Lodge Double Dutch to better compare. The meat seared just as beautifully as it did in the heavier pot. And none of the seasoning showed any signs of coming off — a problem I’ve encountered with other brand-new cast iron pieces that come with a lighter coat.
After cooking the two stews side by side, it became very clear the Blacklock’s lid fit very tight. Virtually no steam escaped, while the liquid in the other pot had reduced quite a bit. I performed my boiling water test, boiling 8 cups of water with the lid on, over high heat, for 10 minutes. The Blacklock only lost 1 1/4 cups of water. Other Dutch ovens I’ve tested usually lose 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water (except Staub, which only loses about 1/2 cup).
The tight-fitting lid came in handy when I made a big pot of garlicky black beans. I can be a bit lazy when cooking beans, never measuring the water and just eyeballing it. Depending on how much water the beans soak up I either have tons of liquid leftover or way too little and a scorched bottom. Not so with this pot. Even though nearly all of the water had been absorbed by the time I checked them, the beans were perfectly moist, not at all dried out, and not one stuck to the bottom.
I used the pot to make stock and definitely appreciated its lighter weight when the pot was full to the brim with water, bones, and veggies. I also used it to cook rice and quinoa and happily noted nothing stuck. Because the booklet that came with the pot said it can be used to make acidic dishes after a few uses, I finally decided to tempt fate and make chicken braised in a tomato sofrito sauce. After washing up, I could see the seasoning held on really well, although it didn’t look quite as black and shiny as before.
This is definitely not a bargain pot for non-enameled cast iron. But its lighter weight and ample coats of seasoning are serious bonuses. And because it’s not enameled, you don’t have to be quite as gentle with it. Like the rest of Lodge’s seasoned cast iron, you can even put it over the live flames of a campfire. Is it worth spending $100 more than what you’d pay for the classic? That’s up to you, but I can say for sure this pot is a joy to use.
Have you tried the cast iron in Lodge’s newish Blacklock line? What’d you think?