I love wings! I mean, I really love wings. So when the wing shop I frequented (on a near daily basis) closed down, I became somewhat unhinged.
The idea of not being able to step outside my building, cross the street and get my daily fix of 20 wings (half extra hot, half lemon pepper, all flats) kind of got me down for a while.
Want the short version? I like the Enameled Dutch Oven from Lodge at Amazon.
I tried a few different stores. First the Publix deli, then the Wing Stop down the street, and some other obscure place with a name I cannot remember. But none did the job, either they were too far away for me to walk to or the wings just weren’t up to par.
So I decided it was time to quit being lazy and make them myself. I found the best way to fry wings up and laid it all out for you. The problem was I didn’t own anything to deep fry my wings in.
Now I’m not one to make rash decisions, so just going out and buying any old pan, skillet, or deep fryer was not something I was willing to do. And thank god I didn’t. Instead, I did my research (however silly it may sound to research pots and pans), and what my research turned up was a bit surprising to me.
At first, I thought the best thing to get for deep frying was… you know….. A deep fryer. I mean, it makes sense, right?
Turns out, while deep fryers are certainly a viable option, the best thing you can get for this method of cooking is a cast iron dutch oven with enamel coating.
I’ll tell you why in a minute, but first I want to make it totally clear that this is my opinion, science doesn’t back up my claims – at least not yet.
Anyway, cast iron is a very heavy metal that retains heat extremely well. I think somehow, the oil reacts better to cast iron than it does with a deep fryer, thus making your food taste better. But again, this is my belief.
One thing is sure though, cast iron retains heat better than a deep fryer does, and it is imperative that you keep the temperatures high when deep frying. The lower the oil temperature gets, the more the oil will be absorbed by the chicken. Leaving you with a soggy not so delicious wing, rather than a crispy delicious wing.
With that out of the way, I would like to direct you to some of the cast iron dutch ovens (with enamel coating of course) that I think you should be looking at.
Here is a good option for somebody who is looking to get an enameled cast iron dutch oven without having to empty their pockets to do so.
It is a 6-quart pot with a chip-resistant finish (which is common for these pots) and has several color options. This is great for baking, broiling, roasting, and of course deep frying and capable of withstanding temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Sound good to you? Find it at Amazon.
The smooth surface does not react negatively to the oil or any other ingredients you are cooking with, so you can be confident that you won’t have to worry about erosion or corrosion.
Should you get the Lodge?
Like I said earlier, this is a good option if you are looking for a product that you can use, without spending too much money. However, if you are looking for a cheap product, you should not expect it to last very long. That said, if you are looking for a “quick fix” pot, this will be of use for you.
Staub Cast Iron Six Quart Shallow Wide Round Cocotte
The battle for best-cast iron dutch ovens always seems to boil down to two brands, Staub is one of those brands. These pots are made in France and can be exposed to extraordinarily high temperatures, 900 degrees for the pot itself and 500 degrees for the lid. I’m not sure conventional ovens can even get that hot.
The smooth enamel bottom allows this dutch oven to be used on several cooking surfaces including gas, glass, ceramic, halogen, electric, and induction.
Should you get the Staub dutch oven?
Staub always comes highly recommended by people who know cooking. The pot can withstand seemingly everything, and I’m comfortable saying that this will easily last a very long time. This does come at a price though, and the price is pretty steep, do not expect to get this at a heavily discounted price. Find it at Amazon.
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Remember that anecdote about how the battle of the dutch ovens usually comes down to 2 brands? Well, Le Creuset is the second of those brands.
It has unrivaled heat distribution and can withstand ridiculously high temperatures, but with the lid, on the pot, you shouldn’t expose it to temperatures higher than 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The handles on this dutch oven are oversized to allow for easier handling.
Should you get the Le Creuset?
Le Creuset is a brand that several highly experienced chefs swear by, so I don’t foresee anybody regretting this purchase, even with the high cost. If you are willing to spend quite a bit of money, then this is a product that you may want to look into. See it listed at Amazon.
Wrap – Up
If you deep fry your food, then you should probably be looking into getting a cast iron dutch oven with an enamel coating (the enamel coating helps in the cleaning process and carries the added benefit of not having to season your pot).
But when you are shopping for one of these products you absolutely should not be fixated on the price of it. If you want a quality tool that will last for about as long as you live, then you are going to have to be okay with spending money on it.
My favorite is the Staub, but the Le Creuset is just as good.
Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: bellrae15 and Isaac W.