I refer to “Finding Wild Cast Iron” as something the is not store bought. At least not bought in a store by me. Those precious finds at a Garage Sale, Estate Sale, Flea Market, etc. Just like stumbling into wild succulent mushrooms while out hiking in the woods.
People that are new to using cast iron often ask “Where do I buy”, and What should I buy? That is a difficult question to answer with no other input provided.
I collect cast iron and have way too many stacked away here and there. But I really enjoy vintage cookware. Much of the vintage pieces are far superior to modern day cast iron. Modern day foundries tend to produce “rougher” finishes. I assume it is to reduce production costs to remain competitive? Lodge is one of the leaders of USA made, and currently a cookware producing modern day foundry.
If you are patient and look in the right places you can save lots of money. If you are new to cooking with cast iron you may find the “In the Wild” option a better way to go in case you decide using cast iron is not for you. Someone will always buy a used piece for what you paid for it…..if you find the bargains out there.
Today’s image in this article, is a garage sale find this morning. I paid $15. This is a Lodge 12 inch “Camp” or “Outdoor” Style Dutch Oven. I say “Outdoor” because it has feet and the raised ridge lid for containing coals. On the low cost end this would retail around $60 when new. This Dutch Oven came in the original box, never used, never seasoned, even had the original paperwork. It looks brand new.
Dutch Ovens made for use in your regular kitchen oven normally have no legs, just a smooth bottom. The kitchen version lid is more domed shaped with no raise ridge since retaining coals is not a requirement.
While you may not find “wild cast iron” with the original box, and in this condition, finding some of the older vintage cookware is an even more gratifying score. Cast Iron Fever (Collecting) can develop into something hard to control.
For someone starting out I generally first recommend starting with a 10 inch “camp” style Dutch Oven. My second recommendation would be for the same in the 12 inch size. Most recipes work equally well in either of these two without adjustments to ingredients or temperature. They are both great for Casseroles, Meats, Chili, Cakes, Cobblers, Mountain Man Breakfasts, and so much more.