If you’re a home cook who’s recently leveled up from “aspiring” to “avid,” you might have had an enameled cast iron Dutch oven on your wish-list for some time. The two well-respected legacy players in the field—Le Creuset and Staub—make theirs in France, but the price of $300+ puts it out of many people’s leagues. Thankfully, there’s been a recent crop of affordable options popping up. (The Wirecutter named the $60 Lodge six-quart pot their favorite in a round of testing, and Amazon launched their own in-house AmazonBasics version for even less.) If longevity is a top priority, start-up Milo offers a $95 Dutch oven that comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Similar to new faces like Material and Misen, Milo is able to keep the price low by following the direct-to-consumer recipe of producing in China, cutting out the middleman, and not stocking in traditional retail stores. “In Milo’s testing, we sought out to achieve three keystones of what we think makes a Dutch Oven great: high-quality enamel, good design and quality control. Fourth might be value,” Milo founder Zach Schau tells CH. (His track record includes founding Pure Cycles, which he’s now a passive investor in, while his younger brother runs it).
“Generally speaking, cheaper brands have cheaper enamel which can degrade over time and cause chipping which can happen for a number of reasons. With Milo, we hand-inspect every single piece that’s manufactured and if it doesn’t meet a 100-point quality check, it gets recycled. Quality control is huge for us and having been through a handful of consumer products businesses, we really go above and beyond to ensure customers are getting the perfect product every time.” Going further, Schau says, “If the enamel chips on the inside of the pot due to normal usage, we’ll cover it.” They’ll cover the cost of shipping, too.
The design of the overall product is more clean-lined than the vintage feel of its competitors. There are only two color options—the white is a high-gloss enamel (making clean-up extremely easy), while the black is the same material, but has a more porous satin finish that gives it a slight boost in charring and browning meats.
This morning, the brand announced their new, smaller 3.3-quart size and stick-resistant enamel, cast iron skillet—available individually or as a set. Each item comes with an invisible, but genuine urge to host a dinner party.
Images courtesy of Milo