*** SORRY COMPETITION NOW CLOSED BUT PLEASE READ THE REVIEW! ***
So a while back I was lucky enough to be sent out the Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker courtesy of Eddingtons – the official UK distributor of Lodge cast iron cookware. The Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker includes a 3-litre Dutch oven and 10.25″ inch skillet with multiple culinary uses both indoor and outdoor.
You’ll have probably seen both my Dutch oven and skillet in a lot of my recipes recently because not only have I become a cast iron addict but cast iron is incredibly versatile to cook with (more on this later). Before I go full throttle into my review I’d love you to hear a little more about Lodge and reasons why you should cook with cast iron – hint: it’s seriously good for your health.
Lodge, a family-owned company based in South Pittsburg (Tennessee), was originally founded by Joseph Lodge in 1896. With over 100 years of experience Lodge has become renowned for producing the finest cast iron cookware in the world. In fact it is the only remaining manufacturer of cast iron cookware in the entirety of the USA!
Why Cook With Lodge Cast Iron?
Unlike your regular stainless steel pots and pans, Lodge cast iron boasts the ultimate heat distribution and retention. The heat spreads rapidly and evenly across both the bottom and sides of the material and stays hot for prolongued periods of time for the ultimate dish. What I love about cooking with Lodge cast iron however, is the versatility – you can bake, braise, broil, fry, grill, roast, sauté, and sear almost anything! And what’s even better is that you can take your combo cooker with you camping and cook on the campfire or even a barbecue! Cast iron is so durable that it will tolerate any heat source (other than the microwave – duh) and is suitable for ceramic, electric, gas, and induction cooktops. Although take note that you must always lift your cast iron off of a glass or ceramic cooktop to prevent scratching it!
The Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker is also pre-seasoned, so when you get it you don’t have to season it yourself. This is done by applying vegetable oil via an electrostatic spray system which coats the cookware. It is then baked into the iron in commercial ovens at temperatures of 315ºC. This allows the oil to penetrate into the pores of the iron, providing a natural non-stick surface. This pre-seasoning process also fully eliminates any health concerns that are normally associated with chemical non-stick coatings. For those of you that don’t know non-stick cookware contains PFCs (perfluorocarbons), a chemical that’s linked to cancer, developmental problems, liver damage , and even early menopause. When you cook, the PFCs are released and inhaled as the fumes are released during high temperature cooking – nasty!
Cast iron is also incredibly cheap – when you think about how much a set of good quality stainless steel pans costs you and then think about the functionality of those pans it’s safe to say that they cannot compare to cast iron. I love the fact that Lodge create incredibly affordable cast iron cookware – with a family of 3 children I spend a lifetime in my kitchen and I don’t have much money to part with either.
One of my favourite reasons to cook with cast iron is that it can fortify your food with iron! Amazing! When cooking (especially something acidic foods) in a cast iron skillet the iron content can be increased by as much as 20 times. Brilliant for anyone that’s iron deficient!
How Does the Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker Perform?
Unlike my stainless steel pans the first thing I noticed was just how damn sturdy both the Dutch oven and skillet were. I recently had the ultimate cooking debacle when my old battered ad bruised pan decided to allow its handle to drop right off – the pan fell to the floor and dinner was ruined. With my combo cooker I can’t really imagine the handles falling off, not unless someone breaks into my house with a magical fire sword and hacks the bloody thing off. I’m not even joking, it’s that sturdy it should be added to the list of weapons on Cluedo.
The next thing I noticed was just how quickly my food cooked when I was cooking with cast iron – the heat distribution is perfect, I don’t really know how to explain this but it heats up fast and just eminates from the centre outward, and stays warm. This meant that when my dish was almost ready I could turn the heat off and it would carry on cooking, which was also a great way of keeping food warm before plating up. If you’re a mum this is probably the biggest selling point within this whole.
Undoubtedly the best part about cooking with my Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker was the ability to start my dish on the hob and finish it in the oven – my Spicy Shakshuka is a great example or my Fruity Frittata. The Dutch oven is big enough to boil a full batch of sweet potatoes or rice for the family. Although I don’t eat meat you could definitely slow cook some fantastic dishes in there and the 3-litre capacity means that you’ll get a good volume of food in there to feed all of the family.
The 10.25″ skillet also acts as a lid for your Dutch oven, I used this when making my Paleo and Vegan Cinnamon Rolls to help to prevent burning – any Paleo baking you normally do will need to be covered with tin foil (also known as ‘tenting’) as the high fat content makes it prone to burning. Using my skillet as a lid eliminated this problem instantly and also helps to circulate the heat and retain moisture.
I’ve found that since I have started cooking with cast iron I’ve reduced the amount of oil and butter I cook with, not eggs however which do like to stick to the pan if you don’t over grease. I also noticed that I’m never cooking above a medium heat (usually low) so I’m saving on the energy bill and you can cook with pretty much any kind of utensil (metal, silicone, wood etc.) without worrying about scratching the surface of the pans.
I think the one factor that puts most people off is the cleaning aspect – most people think that cast iron is a nightmare to clean and maintain but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Yes you do have to hand wash but for me this isn’t a problem as we don’t own a dishwasher. Secondly you shouldn’t use soap – you can use a mild soapy solution but I’d recommend that you don’t. Just simply wash with warm water and gently scrub (but not with a scourer as it can remove the seasoning). To remove any tough ground on foods I use table salt (the only use for the horrible stuff) with a little hot water to help to exfoliate away any foods that are stuck to the cookware. You then dry immediately and then wipe in a little vegetable oil, just enough to restore the ‘sheen’, to help to reinforce the natural seasoning and protect the cast iron from moisture which inevitably will lead to rusting.
The only down side to the pans is that they are bloody heavy! Like if you have weak wrists you are about to get one hell of a workout. The handle also heats up like crazy so if you’re in a tired state and accidentally grab the handle with a bare hand it isn’t a pretty sight. Definitely invest in a decent pair of oven gloves!
So my final verdict – I absolutely cannot live without my Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker – in fact I threw out all of my old pans and now just own I big pan, my Lodge combo cooker, and another Lodge skillet. It’s great to know that I own a sustainable piece of cookware that can last 100+ years making it super eco-friendly. I’ll definitely be looking to invest in more cast iron items but at the moment I don’t feel that I actually need anything else to get by, any additions would just be luxury items.
You can buy the Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker direct from Eddingtons which is currently on sale at £56.25, down from £64.99.
*** SORRY COMPETITION NOW CLOSED ***
Up For Grabs
One lucky winner will win the following:
The Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker includes a 3-litre Dutch oven and 10.25″ inch skillet with multiple culinary uses both indoor and outdoor. It boasts the following key features:
- Can be used as a deep skillet, fryer, or Dutch oven to prepare almost any meal.
- The lid doubles-up as a shallow skillet or griddle for added functionality.
- Pre-seasoned at Lodge’s foundry for a natural, easy-release and non-stick finish that improves with use.
- Amazing distribution and retention of heat that ensures rapid and efficient cooking.
- Suitable for use onceramic, electric, gas, and induction cooktops, as well as in the oven, on the stove, in the grill and on barbecues and campfires.
- Extremely versatile – can be used to bake, braise, broil, fry, grill, roast, sauté, and sear.
- Compatible with metal, silicone, and wood cooking utensils.
- Ridiculously tough and durable – should last you a lifetime.
- Comes with a lifetime guarantee (providing you follow the manufacturer’s care instructions).
How to Enter:
- To enter into the competition just simply sign-up to the Greens of the Stone Age Newsletter by filling in this form – this will give you 5 entries into the competition!
- Next using the Rafflecopter giveaway widget below, select ‘Sign-up to my Newsletter’ and fill in your first name and e-mail address for verification purposes. If you don’t complete these two steps your entry will be disqualified!
For Additional Entry Points
To up your odds of winning:
- Leave a comment using the comments box below telling me what you’ll make with your Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker if you win! You may only do this once.
- Follow Greens of the Stone Age on Twitter, and any of the companies involved in the giveaway, using the option on the Rafflecopter giveaway box below. You may only follow each company once.
- Visit (and follow if you’d like to) Eddingtons on Facebook. You may only follow once but may visit once daily.
- Tweet about the competition using the ‘Tweet about the giveaway’ box below. You can do this once daily!
*Competition open to UK entrants only. Sorry!
** Competition opens 00:00 23rd May 2016 to 23:59 6th June 2016. (All times GMT.)
The Lucky Winner
- The lucky winner will be picked at random.
- The more entries into the competition, the higher the chance is that you will win!
- The lucky winner will be e-mailed within 48 hours of being picked to obtain their details and forward on to the Eddingtons team, who will then arrange a suitable time to mail out your prize!