Smithey VS Cabela’s: Which Dutch Oven Is Superior?

comparison Smithey VS Cabela's

As a seasoned home cook who has explored various kitchen tools and cookware, I’ve had the privilege of comparing different products to enhance my culinary experience. In this article, we’ll delve into a side-by-side analysis of two Dutch ovens that have captured the attention of both amateur cooks and seasoned chefs alike: the Smithey Dutch Oven and the Cabela’s Camp Oven.

Our evaluation will focus on essential parameters that play a pivotal role in determining the effectiveness of these Dutch ovens:

  • Material
  • Weight
  • Heat retention and compatibility
  • Lid fit
  • Handles and product design
  • Colors
  • Maintenance and cleaning
  • Durability and performance
  • Warranty
  • Price

The Smithey Dutch Oven is a culinary masterpiece crafted with meticulous attention to detail. This Dutch oven is one of my favorites, as I am captivated by its sturdiness, premium materials, and timeless design.

Cabela’s Camp Oven is a heavy-duty cast iron cooking pot designed for outdoor adventures. Its sturdy build and functional design make it a reliable choice for outdoor cooking enthusiasts. Below is a brief information about this Dutch oven built and its capabilities.

Smithey has earned its place in the TOP-5 best dutch ovens available today.

Join me as we explore the features of these Dutch ovens, drawing comparisons to uncover the nuances that make each unique. By the end of this review, we aim to guide you in choosing the Dutch oven that aligns best with your cooking preferences and needs.

Smithey VS Cabela’s: Material

Smithey Cabela’s
Smithey Dutch Ovens are crafted from high-quality cast iron. They are hand-finished with a polished interior and a matte enameled exterior. Hence, it gives them a sleek and premium appearance. Cabela’s Camp Oven is built with heavy-duty cast iron. Its impressive thickness ensures consistent cooking temperatures, while the overall build quality suggests durability and reliability.

Smithey VS Cabela’s: Weight

Smithey Cabela’s
Because of its high-quality construction, Smithey Dutch Ovens are known for their heft. While the material used proves its durability, it can be a drawback for some people who are not used to heavy cookware. The Cabela’s Camp Oven is a bit heavier, tipping the scales at approximately 18 pounds. It’s a better fit for camping and outdoor use.

Smithey VS Cabela’s: Heat Retention and Compatibility

Smithey Cabela’s
The Smithey Dutch Oven excels in heat retention, making it ideal for precise temperature control during cooking. Its cast iron body retains heat exceptionally well, which is crucial for recipes like braised short ribs, where a steady simmer is needed to tenderize the meat and enhance flavors.

The Dutch oven’s compatibility with various heat sources, including stovetops, ovens, and open flames, allows for a seamless transition from searing to slow braising.

The Cabela’s Camp Oven demonstrates good heat retention capabilities as it maintains stable and even heat during cooking. It offers versatility in heat compatibility, accommodating campfires, charcoal, and conventional ovens.

Smithey VS Cabela’s: Lid Fit

Smithey Cabela’s
The Smithey Dutch Oven comes with a well-fitting lid that helps to trap moisture and heat effectively, ensuring your dishes come out perfectly cooked.

It has self-basting spikes under the lid to ensure even moisture and flavor distribution, improving the taste and texture of dishes.

The Camp Oven‘s lid fits securely, although there was some moisture loss during cooking.

Smithey VS Cabela’s: Handles and Product Design

Smithey Cabela’s
The handles of the Dutch oven are thoughtfully crafted, offering a comfortable hold and effortless control. The handles’ ergonomic design makes it easy to lift and maneuver even when carrying a heavy pot filled with food.

The Dutch oven’s elegant appearance combines classic allure with modern sophistication. Smithey Dutch ovens truly serve as authentic, eye-catching centerpieces in any kitchen.

The Cabela’s Camp Oven has a functional design with sturdy and practical handles. For outdoor cooking, the version with legs is recommended for stability when cooking over wood or charcoal. Overall, its design is straightforward and suitable for outdoor use.

Smithey VS Cabela’s: Colors

Smithey Cabela’s
Smithey offers a limited color range. It has an enameled exterior, typically featuring a classic black finish. Cabela’s Camp Oven comes in a traditional cast iron color, which is ideal since it is made for outdoor use.

Smithey VS Cabela’s: Maintenance and Cleaning

Smithey Cabela’s
While cast iron requires a tad more maintenance than nonstick alternatives, the Smithey Dutch Oven‘s smooth interior enamel makes cleaning a relatively straightforward task.

I only need to soak it briefly and scrub it gently with a non-abrasive sponge to remove cooking residues. It’s essential to ensure thorough drying and apply a light oil coating to prevent rust to maintain its optimal condition.

The Cabela’s Camp Oven, like most cast iron cookware, requires careful cleaning, which can be a bit of a chore. Proper drying and re-seasoning are necessary to prevent rust.

Smithey VS Cabela’s: Durability and Performance

Smithey Cabela’s
Smithey undeniably upholds its dedication to durability, meticulously crafting this Dutch oven with top-tier materials.

The Dutch oven’s remarkable performance makes it a wise long-term investment. By giving proper care and maintenance, this Dutch oven can endure for many years and become a cherished heirloom passed down to the next generation.

In terms of durability and performance, the Camp Oven meets the basic expectations for a cast iron product. It can handle high heat and will likely serve adequately for an extended period.

Smithey VS Cabela’s: Warranty

Smithey Cabela’s
Smithey offers a limited lifetime warranty on their Dutch Ovens. This warranty reflects the company’s confidence in the product’s durability. The absence of clear warranty information adds uncertainty about the product’s long-term durability. However, you can find return and exchange information on the website, which may offer some clarity regarding their policies.

Smithey VS Cabela’s: Price

Smithey Cabela’s
Smithey Dutch Ovens are on the higher end of the price spectrum, justifying the investment with premium materials and craftsmanship. There is only a bit of a price difference between Smithey and Cabela’s, but it is likely due to its outdoor-oriented design and heavier construction.

Cooking Test

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs in Cabela's Camp Oven

I conducted a cooking test to assess and objectively compare the capabilities of each Dutch oven. Red Wine Braised Short Ribs were prepared, and the evaluation focused on three crucial parameters: browning, moisture retention, and final flavor.


browning of short ribs in Smithey Dutch Oven

The Smithey Dutch Oven‘s remarkable heat retention produced a flawless sear.

Smithey made the ribs brown evenly and thoroughly, improving the dish’s overall look and flavor. The result was a visually beautiful and scrumptious base for braising.

The Cabela’s Camp Oven, while competent in this aspect, didn’t quite match the precise browning achieved by the Smithey.

Moisture Retention

Both Dutch ovens exhibited impressive moisture retention capabilities during the lengthy braising process. The Smithey Dutch Oven is renowned for its ability to maintain a consistent simmer. It ensured that the short ribs remained juicy and tender. The braising liquid clung to the meat, resulting in a perfectly moist final dish.

The ribs cooked in the Cabela’s Camp Oven were also tender and succulent. 

Final Flavor

final flavor Smithey VS Cabela's

Regarding the final flavor of the dishes, it was a close call. Both Dutch ovens produced delicious results, but Smithey had an edge due to its excellent moisture retention, contributing to a richer and more flavorful outcome.

How We Tested

I initiated my cooking test by searing the short ribs, meticulously evaluating their browning capabilities. Following this, I transitioned to the braising phase, where I closely observed their ability to retain moisture—an essential factor for achieving the desired tenderness and juiciness in the final dish.

After completing the braising process, I conducted a comprehensive assessment of the final flavor and tenderness of the Red Wine Braised Short Ribs prepared in each Dutch oven. This evaluation delved into the intensity of flavors and the achieved level of meat tenderness.

Through this cooking test, I acquired valuable insights into the performance of both the Smithey and Cabela’s Camp Dutch ovens.


In conclusion, after a thorough examination of the Smithey Dutch Oven and the Cabela’s Camp Oven, it is evident that the Smithey Dutch Oven emerges as the superior choice. As a seasoned home cook with a discerning palate, I have found the Smithey Dutch Oven to be a culinary masterpiece, excelling in craftsmanship, durability, and performance.

The Smithey Dutch Oven stands out with its premium materials, timeless design, and meticulous attention to detail. Its ability to deliver a flawless sear, maintain optimal moisture during braising, and enhance the final flavor of dishes positions it as a top-tier Dutch oven for both amateur cooks and seasoned chefs.

While the Cabela’s Camp Oven demonstrates competence in outdoor cooking and offers a reasonable alternative, the Smithey Dutch Oven’s exceptional features and culinary prowess make it the clear winner in this comparison. If you seek a Dutch oven that elevates your cooking experience and stands the test of time, the Smithey Dutch Oven is undoubtedly the choice for you.

Ensure you don’t pass up the chance to check out the list of top-5 Dutch ovens.

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