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Old 07-28-2016   #1
Carbondale, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 5
cast iron or anodized aluminum?

I'm looking to purchase a dutch oven & have been researching the reviews/feedback on anodized aluminum vs. good ol' cast iron. Anodized aluminum is lighter & doesn't need seasoning, but I've heard it can still chip & is a bit less durable than cast iron. If it chips, there's concern of ingesting aluminum which is supposed to be unhealthy. Cast iron of course is bomber, but heavier, requires seasoning, & needs to be cared for to avoid rust. But, cast iron is used by many old school & traditional river "cooks". I like the ones that have a lid that can be used as a grill/griddle. Partner Steel makes a cool An. Alum. one that's square & has a lid/griddle.
Lodge has a cool traditional round Cast iron one that has a lid that's quite deep for use as a pan. Thoughts? Experiences?

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Old 07-28-2016   #2
shappattack's Avatar
Up North, Oregon
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river trips - aluminum is the only way to go for weight. The weight difference is staggering.

Health issues with aluminum cooking mostly related to alzheimers have been abandoned by the scientific community:

FYI - I cook with cast iron nearly every day at home, and have cooked with cast Iron DOs for many many years too.

If you can find a used aluminum Rome rectangular DO with lid griddle (no longer in production), pull the trigger immediately:


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Old 07-28-2016   #3
shappattack's Avatar
Up North, Oregon
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another link to health issues and cooking with aluminum, not a real concern:
Health Risks of Cooking in Aluminum | LIVESTRONG.COM
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Old 07-28-2016   #4
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Up North, Oregon
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Also both my aluminum DOs are non-anodized because the Rome DO was not made anodized and I don't have a problem with stuff sticking, so when I got the 10" I didn't think anodized was necessary. I don't have a problem with stuff sticking, using cooking spray where necessary and using oil for baking items that require such.

Some folks don't like the non-anodized, but I think they just don't know how to cook.

The small 10" aluminum dutch that GSI makes without legs always makes it into the boat kitchen, very versatile for small to medium groups, as a pot or dinner DO for small group (2 to 4 peeps) or desert DO for medium group 6-8 peeps for brownie, etc.

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Old 07-28-2016   #5
the fort, Colorado
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I have both. For home use, I don't even use the aluminum. I use CI for all of my skillets and DOs, and there's nothing like it. For river trips, CI is heavy as hell, so I take the aluminum one. The 10" GSI is perfect for our family of 4 and is extremely lighter than my 10" CI dutch.
By the waterside I will lay my head.
Listen to the river sing sweet songs to rock my soul.
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Old 07-28-2016   #6
Gary F
Philipsburg, Montana
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Posts: 26
The bottom line is that ALL metals, whether they be aluminum, cadmium, mercury, or other, accelerates degeneration of the brain. Think of it as "arthritis" of the brain. You know the joke in college about "let's go lose some brain cells"? I don't care what the site says. This issue has been studied many, many times in journals like "The Clinical Journal of Neurology". I have also learned of this information through post graduate CEU classes in neurology. The issue of heavy metal pollutants and how it affects the body is not rocket science. The metals flow through the blood stream thus, affecting the blood vessels walls as well; it is one cause of high blood pressure.. Further, the metals love the nervous system. In this day and age of increased incidence of Alzheimer's why risk it for some weight savings? Moreover, heavy metal ingestion is cumulative. You have to actually "pull" it out using special techniques. If you are doing very rare trips that is one issue, but if you are like us and boat a lot, all aluminum accumulates like I said before. Before I was a med student I was an engineering student. Anodizing is a technique of hardening the surface of aluminum. It can be damaged; all you have to do is cut the cake with too heavy of a hand while the cake is still in the DO. Here is another positive about using cast iron, it is a great source of iron for those that run more on the anemic side. Women can benefit due to the fact that they lose blood every month.
I have cooked with aluminum DO's in fact, it was on our last Salmon trip. Someone else brought the kitchen box. It cooks nice.
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Old 07-28-2016   #7
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Ditto what Shap and the dude say. I use CI at home, or ceramic. I expect the relatively few times I use the anodized DO present a fairly minor exposure to aluminum when compared to a lot of the ways we expose ourselves to environmental toxins. I'll trade the lessened strain on the back for a bit of exposure to some Al atoms...

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 07-28-2016   #8
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Up North, Oregon
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Originally Posted by kokoroltd View Post
In this day and age of increased incidence of Alzheimer's why risk it for some weight savings
The opinion that cooking with aluminum is an important or significant risk factor in brain disorders such as Alzheimers is not shared by organization that I can quickly find on a google search. The US and Canadian Alzheimer's associations actually have info that cooking with aluminum is not a significant risk factor. There appears to be a much higher exposure to aluminum by other mechanism. I suggest a raw food only diet and staying in your house if at all possible! To all concerned, mail me your big rectangular Rome dutch oven with griddle lids and I will properly dispose of them immediately for free with no extra bio-hazard fee charged. PM me for shipping address info.

Life has a 100% mortality rate
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Old 07-28-2016   #9
Castle Rock, Colorado
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Just went through same dilemma and went with anodized aluminum. I picked both up at store and as mentioned, weight difference is huge.
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Old 07-28-2016   #10
over the horizon
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Carbondale, Colorado
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Posts: 267
Aluminum is not a heavy metal. See lead, mercury, anything south of there on the periodic table. Aluminum is semi-metallic. I'm not weighing in on the Alzheimers like I'm an expert, but don't make expert talk and then lump Al in with the heavies…

/Love my ano 12" by the way. Easy cleanup, 1/3 the weight

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