Mastering the Steamship Round: How to Cook this Massive Cut of Beef

The steamship round is an impressively large, nearly whole rear leg of beef weighing anywhere from 30 to 60 pounds.Cooking this monstrous roast may seem intimidating, but have no fear – with the right technique you can tackle a steamship round of beef and have plenty of delicious tender meat to feed a crowd.

What is Steamship Round?

Steamship round refers to a specific cut of beef – it’s the rear leg of the cow between the sirloin and the rump This primal cut consists of the backbone and both left and right rounds still connected

It’s called “steamship round” because the cut would be cooked to feed passengers on steamships traveling long voyages back in the day. The entire rear leg was an efficient way to feed many hungry passengers.

Today it’s popular for large gatherings like weddings or community events. A full steamship round can yield up to 100 servings of delicious roasted beef when cooked properly.

Where to Buy Steamship Round

Due to its massive size, steamship round is a specialty cut that you’ll need to special order from a butcher or meat processor. Give them notice of at least 2 weeks to ensure they can source this large cut for you.

Be sure to communicate the exact quantity of servings needed so you get an appropriately sized steamship round. Plan for around 0.5 pounds of finished cooked beef per person.

Thawing Safely

A frozen steamship round can weigh over 50 pounds, so thawing it is a multi-day process. Never thaw on the counter at room temp, as the outside could begin to spoil while the inner portion stays frozen.

Instead, use one of these safe thawing methods:

  • In the refrigerator: Place frozen roast on a tray and thaw for 5-7 days in the fridge, changing the tray occasionally.

  • In a cooler: Place packaged roast in a cooler and cover with ice packs. Change ice packs every 12-24 hours until thawed.

  • Cold water method: Submerge packaged roast in a tub of cold water, changing water every 30 minutes.

Once thawed, roast should be cooked within 5 days.

Seasoning a Steamship Round

A basic salt and pepper rub keeps the focus on the flavor of the premium beef. But you can also add:

  • Granulated garlic or onion powder
  • Fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano
  • Smoked paprika or chili powder
  • Ground mustard or coffee
  • Steak seasoning blend

Make sure seasoning is distributed evenly all over this massive roast. Let it rest overnight in the fridge so flavors penetrate deep into the meat. Remove roast from fridge 4 hours pre-cooking to allow it to come closer to room temperature.

Cooking Methods for Steamship Round

Cooking low and slow is key for this extra large cut of beef. Methods like oven roasting, smoker cooking, or sous vide allow controlled, even cooking.

Oven Roasting

  • Preheat oven to 225°F.
  • Place roast on racks in large roasting pans.
  • Cook approximately 45-60 minutes per pound, until internal temp reaches 145°F for medium rare.
  • Rest 30-60 minutes before carving.

Smoker Cooking

  • Prepare smoker withindirect heat at 225-250°F.
  • Add presoaked woodchips for flavor.
  • Smoke roast until it reaches 140°F internally, about 8-12 hours.
  • Rest and slice just like oven roast.

Sous Vide

  • Season and vacuum seal roast.
  • Cook for 24-48 hours in 130°F water bath.
  • Chill quickly in an ice bath.
  • Sear outside to finish.

The extended sous vide cooking time tenderizes the meat fully throughout the roast.

Carving the Cooked Steamship Round

Have sharp carving knives ready to slice this giant roast. Carefully remove any butcher’s twine before carving.

To carve:

  • Cut crosswise into top and bottom portions.
  • Cut against the grain into thin slices.
  • Arrange slices on platters for serving.

Adding an au jus, horseradish sauce, or chimichurri sauce complements the flavor of the beef.

Serving Suggestions

A steamship round of beef yields tender, juicy meat perfect for serving a hungry crowd. Offer guests a variety of sides and sauces:

  • Mini buns and rolls for shredded beef sandwiches
  • Horseradish sauce, au jus, chimichurri
  • Cornbread, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables
  • Garden salad, coleslaw, potato salad

Leftovers will make amazing French dip sandwiches or pizza toppings. Or slice and freeze portions to enjoy this special roast for weeks to come.

Cooking an entire steamship round of beef is an ambitious undertaking, but ultimately very rewarding. Use these helpful tips to tackle this grand cut of meat and you’ll have an unforgettable entrée to feed generations.

Recipe Steamship Round


Is steamship round tender?

Home to lean, inexpensive cuts that come from the rump and hind legs. The muscles in this area are used for movement, so the beef is leaner and less tender. Often sold as roasts, steaks for marinating or Ground Beef.

How big is a steamship roast?

Steamship Round is the Beef Round with the Rump taken off. Taking the Rump off makes it cheaper, and lets it sit upright on the bigger end for easy carving. Still, even with the Rump off, a Steamship Round will weigh in between 30 and 50 pounds (13.5 to 22.5 kg.)

What cut of meat is the steamboat?

The steamboat is derived from the cut of beef referred to as the round, which is at the rump or rear leg of the animal. A classic steamboat would consist of the whole roasted leg, including the top round, bottom round, eye of round, the knuckle and the rump still connected together.

Leave a Comment