After Refining the Cast-Iron Skillet, Field Company Adds a Dutch Oven
The Kickstarter success story adds to its cult-favorite cookware lineup
Do we really need another Dutch oven?
That’s the first question that came to mind when the news came across my desk that Field Company — the Kickstarter success story that raised $1.6 million in 2016 to bring back an older, lighter style of cast iron — has added a Dutch oven to its lineup. The upstart company has developed somewhat of a cult following for its skillets, so it only made sense to expand their offerings, especially after four years, but how can it possibly stand out when we’ve got more Dutch oven options than makes sense in our modern era?
Cookware, you may have noticed, has been booming during the pandemic. While us home cooks have been making our way from sourdough to wood-fired pizzas to holiday pies, new brands have been popping up and gaining steam, and older companies have been widening their offerings. In the Dutch oven department alone, apart from the staples like Le Cresuset, Staub and Lodge (which we particularly like), the past year and a half has seen new options sprout up from companies like Proclamation Goods, Caraway and Smithey (in the form of a smaller 3.5-quart size). And that’s not even included the new, but not as new, design-forward outfits like Milo and Great Jones.
As all these cookware companies jockey for the attention of the next generation of amateur chefs — with their expertly styled photography, newfangled color stories and heartfelt mission statements — we get Field Company’s new contender plopped in our laps.
The Field No.8 Dutch Oven isn’t fancy, at least not to the untrained eye. It’s straight, pre-seasoned cast iron, no enamel coating like the French leaders, and it looks the part in classic black, no Gen Z colorways like Perracotta or Broccoli. Sure, there are thoughtful design elements here — like the sloped lid, flared top and heritage-styled markings on the bottom — but this probably won’t sell out by becoming the next figuratively hot pan on Instagram.
It will, in all likelihood, still sell out quickly, though for an entirely different reason. If you’ve never cooked with Field Company’s cast iron before, you should know that their proprietary manufacturing process happens in the U.S., the cast-iron pieces are ground by humans instead of an automated process, and the end goal is to produce a super smooth surface and unnaturally lightweight product. Just for comparison’s sake, a comparable 5-quart raw cast-iron Dutch oven from Lodge weighs 12.78 pounds, Smithey’s 3.5-quart weighs 11.5 pounds, but the 4.5-quart Field version weighs just 10.5 pounds with the lid (and only 6.5 without).
That process, which has stayed true to their original mission back when they put together the Kickstarter, has led to a number of devoted fans, from everyday cast-iron users to that cowboy YouTuber you’ve probably run into. They haven’t scaled up to the level of production of the larger brands, which means, as with their skillets in the past, these will probably sell out. That exclusivity isn’t a reason to buy one, but Field Company’s devotion to a smoother, lighter, old-school cast-iron experience most definitely is.
To sum all that up, yes, it seems we do need another Dutch oven.
And if you’re wondering why they’re only offering a 4.5-quart size, don’t worry, they’ve assured us that larger versions are on the way. In the meantime, try one of their skillets out — they’ve got a 45-day test period in place to prove their worth in a crowded lineup.
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