Made In’s Gorgeous Dutch Oven Sears Meat Like a Dream
Fact: the Kitchn team loves Made In cookware. The direct-to-consumer company offers everything you need for your kitchen — pots, pans, knives, bakeware — all made by generations-old manufacturers in Europe and the U.S., but without the huge price tag you might expect. It’s like the Trader Joe’s of cookware.
We’re not the only ones who love the brand though. It has cultivated a loyal customer base that includes big-name chefs like Tom Colicchio and Grant Achatz. Its fan-favorite carbon steel pans are always selling out and when it launched its chef’s knife in October 2018, it sold out within 24 hours. Another item that sold out right after it launched earlier this year in February? A 5.5-quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven that rivals its high-end competitors (you know who they are).
Cofounder Jake Kalick, whose family has run Boston-based Harbour Food Service Equipment (a commercial kitchen outfitter) for generations says an enameled Dutch oven was the most requested item from customers over the last four years. His team would’ve happily brought one to market sooner but they couldn’t find the perfect manufacturer.
“We have been working on this project for three years,” he says. “And we’ve had a lot of false starts.” First, they tried to build a supply chain in the U.S. “What we learned was that it’s an incredibly difficult manufacturing process. Casting and enameling is difficult and needs to be done under one roof.”
So they turned to France, where they already do a lot of manufacturing with legacy brands, and finally found a factory that was making enameled cast iron for more than 100 years. “We got ‘no’ from all these factories and partners for three years. It’s definitely been a passion project,” says Kalick.
The Made In Dutch oven retails for $199, which isn’t cheap but is still significantly less than the $300+ price tags of other brand name French-made pots. Unlike the assortment of sizes offered by other brands, the Made In Dutch oven comes as a versatile 5.5 quart size that can hold everything from beans to a whole chicken. It debuted with one color in February — a sapphire blue — but has since launched a red and a soft pink shade. “This is the hero item. It’s nerve-wracking to launch seven items at once, and with all of our new categories, we try to get one product perfect, understand the customers’ needs, then we expand.”
My Honest Review of the Made In Dutch Oven
I got my hands on a pot earlier this year and was seriously impressed. It has nice rounded lines like a Le Creuset and studs on the underside of the lid (which help keep moisture in) like a Staub. Wait, are either of these brands the actual manufacturer? Kalick’s lips are sealed, but the Made In pot is definitely of a very similar breed. It even weighs the same as a similarly-sized Staub: about 14 pounds with the lid on. One point to note: when I tested the Dutch oven in February, it had a black enamel interior but the brand switched to a white interior starting in March.
I put the pot through its paces on the stove and in the oven to cook rice, beans, veggie soup, beef ragu, and even a whole chicken. I took note of any scorching (none), how evenly it heated (perfectly), how well it retained moisture with the lid on (just the right amount of evaporation), how easy it was to use (big, wide handles make it super easy to lift), and, most importantly, how well it seared (beautifully).
My biggest pet peeve when searing meats for a stew or braise in a Dutch oven is how sometimes the meat wants to steam on the second side rather than take on color, even when I take care not to crowd the pot. The rough black enamel interior of my Staub Dutch oven is great at searing meats, and the Made In version is similarly great. With the Made In pot, my meat was evenly caramelized and the surface deglazed instantly with just a splash of wine.
My takeaway? This is a fabulous Dutch oven that’s in the same echelon as French brands that cost nearly twice as much. I’m not a gambling type, but I’d be willing to bet it’ll become your new favorite piece of cookware.
Do you have a Dutch oven that you love? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Buy: Made In Dutch Oven $199