10 tips for good Cast Iron: How can I identify the quality of Dutch Ovens?

Nowadays the variety of cast-iron products has reached a high level. Petromax customers constantly ask how to identify good quality of cast iron. In fact, the base material as well as the workmanship are decisive as Dutch Ovens and co. should last for generations.
Here are 10 reasons why cast iron is a perfect material for Petromax pots and pans and why the quality of the products plays a significant role as well:

  1. Quality of raw material

For the making of cast iron you need a percentage of recycled content. At Petromax we solely use our own recycling material — that is to say cast iron products which were sorted out due to defective production and never even left the factory. Although this is pricier than external recycling, we can guarantee the used materials. External iron is not an option!


  1. Fine grained cast iron

Petromax products are primarily distinguished by a fine-pored material surface which is easily visible with the naked eye. This even cast has only little air inclusion and thus provides for a high thermal conductivity and heat storage. An even cast further ensures less moisture entering the surface structure of the Dutch Ovens and thus leads to less risk of rust. In addition to this, the risk of cracks is limited as the fine-pored material structure minimizes large air locks which expand under heat and thus lead to stress cracks in the Dutch Oven.


  1. Material thickness and uniformity

It is crucial during the production of our Dutch Ovens to cast the walls as evenly as possible to ensure the same thickness across the entire surface. Only this way your Dutch Oven is well balanced and able to hang hundred percent strait. If you hang the Dutch Oven crookedly, you will run the risk of turning over the full pot.  Furthermore, so-called hot spots occur and render a uniform heating impossible.


  1. Quality of cast iron in figures: Casting errors per square centimeter

Cast iron is a coarse material and therefore casting defects like air inclusion, cavity and holes are quite normal. However, it is important to reduce them to a minimum when speaking of a square centimeter. Otherwise, there is a threat of moisture penetration and thus an increased risk of cracks and tears. Besides, cleaning the surface will be challenging. At Petromax we accurately watch out for an extremely low number of casting defects per square centimeter.


  1. Even bottom thickness

A plane bottom is particularly decisive to Dutch Ovens without feet for you can use it for example on your home stove without wavering or damaging the stove surface. For your outdoor kitchen, too, a plane bottom is important: It is the only way to ensure a uniform result from frying.


  1. Constant quality ensured by means of on-going testing

During the production of Dutch Ovens as well as other cast-iron forms, the quality of the mold plays an important role. Building this mold might be costly, yet it should be audited, revised and possibly even replaced. Heavy strain — that means a frequent use of the mold as part of the series production — affects the uniformity of the wall thickness, notched carry handle and the thermometer hole etc. Our molds are subject to a strict and constant control as well as the quality of the mold material.


  1. Final touch — clean finishing

Once the Dutch Oven is cast into the mold, Petromax does not stop improving. To us, a thoroughly rework on the product is pivotal: Beveled and deburred edges ensure a safe handling. If you skip this step, risk of injury occurs!

Besides, all cast-iron products are seasoned ex works. So just clean with hot water and start using your product straight away!


  1. Robust and safe — The suspension

The handle of your Dutch Oven should be easy and evenly foldable. Nothing should stick, specifically when working over fire. Also, the handle of the Dutch Oven is designed to be flat on the one side but positioned at 5° angle on the other side. Due to this feature, you can lift the Dutch Oven quickly, for instance by using the Petromax Lid Lifter, even in hot embers.


  1. German engineering work: The construction

Petromax has its own research and development department at the headquarters in Magdeburg, Germany. The Dutch Oven was designed there with many clever extras: For example, you can use the lid as a skillet when upturned, thanks to three supporting feet. Besides, a thermometer hole was considered for your roast thermometer. Furthermore, the feet and the lid are designed to securely stack the Dutch Ovens. And the portfolio suits: Our Scraper fits perfectly to the insides of Dutch Ovens and Fire Skillets.


  1. We are here for you — The customer service

No worries! Once you purchased your Dutch Oven, quality requirements do not stop at Petromax: We will be at your disposal, if you should need an advice or you might have a problem with your product. We also provide news, care tips and delicious recipes through social media channels.

For the purchase of a Dutch Oven we recommend visiting a specialist dealer, where you can see and feel the quality of the cast iron.

We collected a check list for you:

–              Inspect your Dutch Oven or the cast iron product: Its surface must be as fine and as even as possible. Dents indicate air inclusions in the material, small holes open air pockets (like those of woodworms).

–              Use the carry handle to lift the Dutch Oven: It should hang straight.

–              Touch the edges: They should not be sharp.

–              Move the carry handle from one side to the other: It should move effortless and smooth without getting stuck and may not become unhooked.

–              Stack the Dutch Ovens and watch for accessories. All products should be expandable.