The current study evaluated growth performance and digestion responses of finishing bulls fed diets containing 825 g/kg flint maize [dry matter (DM) basis] ground to medium (1.66 mm; MG) or coarse particle sizes (2.12 mm; CG), with added monensin (26 mg/kg; DM basis; MON) or a blend of essential oils (BEO) + exogenous α-amylase (AM; 90 mg/kg + 560 mg/kg commercial product, respectively, DM basis). In Expt 1, 256 Nellore bulls were blocked by initial body weight (BW) (360 ± 11.7 kg) and assigned to 48 pens in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments. Effect of a maize particle size × feed additive interaction was not detected for final BW, DM intake (DMI), average daily gain (ADG) and feed efficiency. The DMI was greater for bulls fed BEO + AM v. MON. Final BW and ADG tended to be greater for bulls fed CG than MG maize. An interaction was detected for hot carcass weight which was 11 kg heavier for bulls fed BEO + AM v. MON in diets containing CG, but not MG particle size. In Expt 2, four ruminally cannulated Nellore steers were offered the same treatments as Expt 1, in a 4 × 4 Latin Square design. Intake of most nutrients was greater for steers fed CG than steers fed MG maize. In summary, feeding bulls CG maize increased growth performance and carcass characteristics compared with MG. The combination of BEO + AM resulted in heavier carcass weights compared with MON supplementation when included in diets containing CG maize.