Bring up the topic of “Aluminum Dutch ovens” amongst a bunch of outdoor cooks and you’ll get feed back that spans the spectrum from “I Love Them” to “I Hate Them. Yet to come is a more definitive blog about the pros and cons of aluminum Dutch ovens but first I want to share a story why one guy we met fifteen years ago made the switch from cast iron Dutch ovens to aluminum ones!
Pen and I had just finished setting up for our first ever appearance at the Tri-Cities Sportsman’s Show in Pasco, Washington, in January of 2001 when an old cowboy began checking out the aluminum Dutch ovens on our display tables. Judging from his attire and the fact he was so “bow legged” he couldn’t herd pigs in an alley along with his sweat stained Stetson I came to the conclusion this gentleman had spent most of his life horseback.
His interest was apparent as I asked him if I could help him. His first question was how much did the aluminum ovens weigh. I went through the weights of the 10″, 12″ and 14″ aluminum Dutch ovens we had on display. His next question was how long had I been using aluminum Dutch ovens and did I like them? I got those two questions answered before it was time to do my first demonstration. I glanced over at the display tables during my demo and this old timer was in deep conversation with my wife Penny. As it turned out he was asking what she thought of aluminum Dutch ovens, what they were like to clean, and if they needed seasoned like cast iron.
When I finished signing books after the demo he was back asking more questions about aluminum Dutch ovens and how they compared to cast iron Dutch ovens. I continued to patiently answer his questions between helping other customers and prepping for the next demo. My hope of making a sale ended many questions later when he walked away after the announcement was made the show was closing for the day.
Day two of the show was a repeat of the first day. When ever Pen or I were not prepping for our demonstrations or helping other customers this old cowboy was bending our ear with every conceivable question about aluminum Dutch ovens. Again our hope of making a sale ended with him walking away as they announced the closing of the show.
Wouldn’t you know it as soon as the doors opened Sunday morning here he came again! I know now how a car salesman feels with tire kicking customers who never buy but get their kicks from putting the salesman through his paces. But…instead of more questions he started by thanking both Penny and I for taking the time to answer his questions and educate him about aluminum Dutch ovens. Here is the story he told before buying every aluminum Dutch oven sitting on our display tables.
He said he’d been cooking with cast iron Dutch ovens for 60+ years and they were just to damn heavy for him to handle anymore but that he wasn’t yet ready to quit Dutch oven cooking. So, the previous evening after getting home from the show he called his grandsons and told them to come pick up their inheritance! In the last fifteen years I’ve often wondered just how many more years of Dutch oven cookin’ he got in with his new aluminum Dutch ovens.