I just bought a Lodge enameled cast-iron dutch oven, which came with a plastic knob for the lid. The plastic knob limits the pot to 400 degrees max in the oven, so, based on recommendations I saw online, I replaced the knob with a metal one, specifically a nickel cabinet knob I found at Lowe’s. It’s solid metal, whatever metal it happens to be made of (it says nickel, but I’m not sure whether to believe it).
So I just want to make sure I haven’t introduced something that’s going to make the whole pot explode at, like, 450 degrees. I know, I’m probably being silly. I was too cheap to spring for the Le Creuset stainless-steel replacement knob, but I will if that will keep my kitchen from being blasted with cast-iron shrapnel.
And how stupid is it that Lodge makes a perfectly nice dutch oven and then hobbles it with a plastic knob that can only go to 400 degrees?
As an added bonus, this setup should generate a small electrical current (two different metals in contact with each other + heat = thermocouple).
Out of curiosity, is there really a need for the handle to withstand more than 400 degrees? Dutch ovens are typically used for slow cooking methods at lower temperatures, like braising. I assume that’s why Lodge wasn’t concerned about the temperature limitation of the lid handle. If you were using your Dutch oven for hotter applications (searing meat, for example), you wouldn’t want the lid on, anyway.
I have that exact oven in red and love it dearly. The interior enamel is stained and pitted, but it does do what it’s supposed to do and does it well. I do have a replacement knob just like you describe, but have found that wrapping the plastic handle in foil works just fine.
The electrical current thing is probably almost undetectable, just to be clear. It won’t generate a lot–certainly not enough to worry about.
If it were me, I would probably try to find a solid stainless steel knob, though. The nickel knob probably does have some sort of coating to keep it from staining, and there’s no way to know if it’s oven safe.
Not much help now, but Lodge does make Dutch ovens with metal knobs, though they are slightly more expensive than the plastic-knobbed versions.