So I scored a free dutch oven from Dad. 🙂 Someone gave it to him and while he loves things like that that, he’s not going to be cooking on the ground any more so he let me have it. It needs to be cleaned thoroughly and re-seasoned, which is easy; I do it from time to time when he gives me others skillets and stuff from "unknown" sources.
Anyhow, I’m not sure what size it is. The lid has an "8" and "10 inch" cast into it. Simply enough, it’s a 10", but it’s not very deep; only 3-1/2" or so. Surely it’s not an 8 quart. Is it a "Number 8"? I’m looking at it thinking it can’t be much over a gallon. What size dutch oven do I have, who likely made it and what’s it particularly good for?
Good score! It sounds similar in size to one of our pans. We refer to it as the "chicken fryer", which is what I assume it was labeled when we bought it, since we don’t fry chicken. It is very handy for lots of things; last night it was hashed browns with onions – I don’t lose as much over the sides as I do with the shorter-sided skillets. We don’t use the cast iron to cook "on the ground" but we sure do use it a lot at home. (Now if we could figure a handy place to keep the DOs, they don’t hang on the rack well.)
This isn’t a good close-up picture of that specific one, it is the left-most of the 2 with bases facing the camera.
Actually, the item you describe isn’t truly a Dutch Oven but, rather, a deep frying pan. It can be used as a D/O but there are pitfalls to be concerned with.
The biggest issue is the cooking times as compared to a "standard" or "deep" D/O. Less mass (metal) means quicker heating times, thus faster cooking. The typical number of charcoal briquettes you’d use on a true D/O would be too many for a pan as you describe, so you’ll have to adjust heat/cooking times accordingly.
This type of deeper frying pan is excellent for making fried chicken. Not so shallow that your oil will spill out and not so deep as you have to reach inside to turn your chicken over as it cooks.
I also prefer the deeper frying pan when I’m making a big batch of my sausage breakfast gravy. If you’ve ever made home-made gravy you know that it takes a fair amount of milk to cut the gravy to thin it out. As the gravy continues to warm and thicken, you can add more milk to make more gravy depending on your needs, but regardless how much or how little, constant stirring of the mixture is needed to keep from burning the bits on the bottom.
An additional plus to the deep fry pan is when you make biscuits or cornbread. Personally, I like a nice hunk of cornbread and the deeper pan makes it just about perfect!
Enjoy your new pan. Like all your other cast iron cooking items, you’ll love it.
I don’t have an external picture account anywhere, so I can’t post pictures. It’s most definitely a dutch oven; it has legs and a rim around the lid for ash.
I’ve used the standard 6 on bottom and 12 on top for everything I put it it which, so far, has been mountain man breakfast, apple cobbler, pineapple dump cake, blackberry cobbler, and cinnamon rolls. Only one batch of cinnamon rolls got too brown on bottom and I think that was because the ground was soft and the legs sunk down.
I’m thinking that it’s about 4 quarts by volume; I can’t imagine cooking enough to fill an 8 quart. My only issue is how to keep it hot for long duration cook times like the mountain man breakfasts. I tried adding coals to the existing coals, but they didn’t catch up fast enough before the first batch died out. The second time around, I just made another batch in the charcoal chimney, but I figured it would get TOO hot with both sets of coals on it, so I had to remove coals and exchange them basically. How do you guys handle the second batch of coals?