Praise the Braise
The best way to tenderize tough cuts of meat like short ribs? Sear them, then slow-cook them with a touch of liquid (aka braise) -- and a Dutch oven does both beautifully. The pot gets screaming hot to create a browned crust, then the lid traps moisture and flavor so your dinner gets more delicious by the minute.
Since cast-iron Dutch ovens retain heat better than any other pot, they're great at keeping liquids perking along at a low, slow, steady simmer. This kind of gentle cooking gives you fork-tender meat and flavorful juices.
Bake it Easy
One of the most surprising charms of the Dutch oven is that it turns out lovely loaves. Dumping soft dough into a preheated pot gives the bread an initial blast of heat, while the lid traps the steam. Both work together to create a light, airy combo and a crackly crust.
Get Your Fry on
Perfectly fried food that's golden, crispy and not at all greasy has everything to do with holding oil at the right temperature. A cast-iron Dutch oven does just that, and the high seeds keep oil from spattering on you or your stovetop.
Stew on it
No pot is better for sauces and stews than the Dutch oven: The deep sides and even distribution of heat allow liquids to reduce gradually with less stirring and worrying about sticking and burning.
Roast it Right
A substantial hunk of meat deserves a substantial pot. Roasting in a covered cast-iron Dutch oven helps large cuts cook evenly. Finishing the roast with the lid off creates a browned curst that looks great -- and tastes even better.