Does using steam aid or abate bark development in a roast

For a sous vide cooked roast/brisket etc, to develop the finishing bark on the roast/brisket would using steam on the APO help get the bark quicker or would it slow it down?

The meat is already cooked via and extended low and slow sous vide cook step.

I am looking learn if I can accelerate this finishing step by adding steam. My normal oven time would normally be 3-4 hours at 125 °C / 257 °F.

304 hours???


Steam generally inhibits bark. My best results have been APO to cooked and then a few hours on a smoker at low heat to develop the bark.


Should have read 3-4 hours. Even missed it in my proof read. :joy:

Thanks for the insight @JoeInOttawa.

Hi Kiboko, are you still using the silicon ramekins for multiple item cooking? That’s a challenging technique to use successfully. I’m wondering if you have continued to use them.

Joe’s got the short answer.

Your question betrays a substantial misunderstanding of the process that forms bark, particularly in barbecue and never in sous vide. I regret to disappoint, but superior barbecue cooking results are an interesting combination of art and science that resists acceleration. Typically, the traditionally smoked BBQ brisket requires 20 to 24 hours to cook and even then few get it right. The length of time required can be somewhat shortened using SV, but not by much other than by using small cuts of meat, 1 to 3 kg.

As you know bark is the brown crust caused by the combination of seasonings, the Maillard reaction, along with the gradual dehydration of the meat’s surface. A jerky-like crust can’t happen with steam assisted cooking.

Restaurants often create faux-bark and a more BBQ-like result without a smoker by applying a liquid aminos and molasses glaze along with a few drops of a good liquid smoke to your roast/brisket. Cook using your APO consider using steam mode at 68°C / 155°F for up to 24 hours based on the mass you’re cooking.

To finish, brush the rest of the glaze on the cooked roast and generously apply your BBQ roast rub. Then finish in a low dry oven at 125°C / 255°F, a good smoker temperature, for up to 3 hours. The bark won’t be quite as shatteringly beef jerky-like as the real thing, but better than most.

If you are in a desperate need to accelerate this last stage set your oven to 150°C / 300° and cook for an hour, then boost your APO to 200°C / 400°F to finish developing the bark for a few minutes, 5 to 10, will do you. You want dry, not charred which is bitter.

Brisket is one of the most difficult cuts of meat to cook well so i advise practicing with pork butts and savng $50 or more per attempt.

Make it delicious and keep well.

1 Like

Hi @chatnoir, Thanks for the detailed response. My thoughts are in the same place and was only thinking about finishing step. The jerk-like crust logic makes sense.

I do still have the PrepD “cheat sheet” silicon cook trays. I don’t use them as much as as I thought I would but they do come in handy now and again. One of the weakness of the solution is that the trays are sized for the PrepD pan and will warp a little when baking something at higher temps. I found it better to use them with my after market pan that is larger than the PredD tray and little more sturdier than the one shipped with the APO.

My pleasure and thank you.

Steam assisted cooking isn’t the solution for every cook. Thinking about the outcome you want will usually lead you to the correct technique. Thinking and appropriate cooking are partners in great results.

Great question and great comments!