So there you are. You’ve followed all of the directions in your favorite Sous Vide recipe. Your protein has been in the bath for somewhere between 4 and 72 hours. You pinched it. You pulled it. You shocked it. You’re ready to finish it and serve it to your hungry guests. You’re only missing one thing: that wonderful brown-black crust with those amazing Maillard flavors and that perfect counterpoint to the tenderness provided by the Sous Vide process. Crust, Bark, and Pellicle; no it’s not a law firm. It’s your Sous Vide dish’s best friend.

This will stick to your ribs

Start by drying your meat off to remove any remaining specks of albumin and debris that were released during processing, yielding a very dry surface. We know that during processing, albumin moves from the meat to the liquid in the Sous Vide bag. Eggwhite is mostly albumin, and the little grey flecks do look like over scrambled egg whites. That’s what made the raw meat sticky in the first place. So, here’s what you do:

As dry as the surface is, flour is so fine it will stick to it quite well. Dust and shake–don’t let clumps remain, but cover the entire surface with a very fine, thin layer. Then, dip, or paint, with scrambled egg white. NO YOLKS, they yield an entirely different result — save them for Sous Vide Hollandaise. Now you have a moist and very sticky surface.

and, therein lies the RUB

Clean your hands well; they tend to get breaded along with everything else. Dry them well, and apply your rub, whether it be merely salt and pepper, or something much more complex. You will need less than usual, because it REALLY sticks now–if you’re not careful, you will end up with a salty result, so go easy. Allow to dry for a little while, to let the surface treatment really attach itself.

At this point, you can BBQ, Smoke, Roast, Pan Fry, even DEEP fry, and that stuff WILL NOT COME OFF.