When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
- From stews and roasts to chowders and chillis, a cast-iron Dutch oven is a worthy kitchen addition.
- We tried popular direct-to-consumer brand Finex‘s new take on the classic for a range of dishes.
- While it lacks the fine finish of other brands, we’re in love with its handles and heat retention.
I’ve tried more cast-iron cookware brands than I can recall while on the kitchen beat here at Insider, and I’ve always preferred more affordable brands. Apart from aesthetics, there’s not enough difference between the $350 options and the $50 ones for most people. No matter what you spend, cursory maintenance is all it takes to make your cast iron pot last a long, long time.
This is a roundabout way of tritely saying “Enter Finex,” an incredibly expensive brand of cast iron cookware. While I’m naturally a skeptic when it comes to pricey cookware, I thought I’d give it a try and see what you get in a $350 cast iron Dutch oven.
First impressions of the Finex Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Just pulling the thing out of the box, I immediately realized what was (arguably) wrong with almost every piece of cast iron in my kitchen. Why hadn’t anyone thought to make thick and agile cast iron handles before Finex? These stainless-steel coil springs are the substantial kind you’d find on heavy-duty equipment and outdoor grills in public spaces. They’re smooth and rigid, so there’s no give, and far as we can tell, little likelihood that they’ll ever become dislodged.
They are a definitive alternative to most cast-iron pots and pans, which generally have perplexingly scant handles that make grabbing hold of them (with or without an oven mitt) somewhat precarious, especially for those with weaker wrists.
The other thing that caught my eye was the octagonal design, which simplifies pouring as opposed to a single- or dual-spout design, or no spout at all. This might not matter to some, but it does make pouring that much easier, especially if you’re passing it around the dim light of a campfire.
Still, I have to remind you that you can get the same size 5-quart Lodge, Victoria, or Camp Chef Dutch oven that will work every bit as well for about a tenth of the price. Those may not necessarily become family heirlooms you’ll pass on, and the small handles can be tough on your wrists. But that’s the classic Dutch-oven design, which no one is in any real position to knock.
That said, Finex offers something decidedly more accommodating. Some, like myself, won’t take that lightly: decades of repeated wrist injuries have left mine in rough shape, and Finex’s design offers relief where others do not, which might be the best thing about this piece of cookware.