A working end of a surgical instrument that carries first and second jaws for delivering energy to tissue. In a preferred embodiment, at least one jaw of the working end defines a tissue-engagement plane that contacts the targeted tissue. The cross-section of the engagement plane reveals that it defines (i) a first surface conductive portion or a variably resistive matrix of a temperature-sensitive resistive material or a pressure-sensitive resistive material, and (ii) a second surface portion coupled to a fixed resistive material that coupled in series or parallel to a voltage source together with the first portion. In use, the engagement plane will apply active Rf energy to ohmically heat the captured tissue until the point in time that a controller senses an electrical parameter of the tissue such as impedance. Thereafter, the controller switches energy delivery to the second surface portion that is resistively heated to thereby apply energy to tissue by conductive heat transfer.