At high temperatures
Cooking meat in ovens set at high temperatures allows immediate protein coagulation and water
evaporation, which forms the crispy skin, substantial browning and flavour production will take place
on the meats surface. Heat will be transferred more quickly to the centre of the piece of meat, which
will reach a higher temperature during cooking and may risk to dry out. The meat will cook more
quickly but therefore be more likely to overcook.
Maillard reactions will be more pronounced in a traditional oven (which has dry air) compared to a
steam oven (humid air), yet so will the rate with which the meat dries out.
The oven door should not be opened because the volatile aromatic molecules that are produced
during roasting will be released, so more aromatic molecules will diffuse from the meat by diffusion.
High temperature roasting is more suited to smaller cuts of meat, which will be cooked before they
have enough time to dry out. The oven should preferably be pre-heated. The meat then takes less
time to reach the required temperature, so cooking time is further reduced and more juice is
The best compromise is to start the oven at a high temperature to encourage surface browning, and
then to finish the cooking at a lower temperature to cook the meat more slowly and prevent undesired
Steaming is a very efficient and quick way of transferring heat – there is therefore a risk that the meat
will dry out very rapidly. It is thus only really suitable for thin tender cuts of meat that will cook quickly
at the centre before the outside has dried out too much. Thicker cuts to be steamed are often wrapped
in leaves to protect the surface from cooking so quickly.
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In pressure cookers, water boils at approximately 130 °C. This greatly increases heat transfer, and
therefore cooking time, and allows the collagen-gelatine conversion to occur much more rapidly.
Cooking times are much shorter, and this easily leads to over-cooking. Meat cooked in a pressure