Can You Reuse Charcoal – A Way To Save Your Money

Written by Patricia Jones

Last weekend, we had a great barbecue party in my residency. My friend, Elisa and her husband were so impressed and enjoyed a lot.

Elisa noticed that my husband had put used charcoal for a cookout. She immediately asked me, “Does burnt charcoal provide a good heat?”

I replied, “Yes, It does. But there are many concerns to keep in mind.”

Thereafter, we had a short casual discussion on, “Can you reuse charcoal for barbecuing and how to use the ashes?”

I am pretty sure you too want to reprocess charcoal for your purpose. It definitely saves your dollars in the long run and it is also eco-friendly.

Let’s start from the beginning-

Can You Reuse Charcoal? – Get To Know Here

Yes, you can reuse. But a few things should be taken care of.

When you barbecued, there were a lot of burnt charcoal and ashes left.

For the next cookout, you have to clean up every trace of used objects and ashes to start the grill again.

The process is simple and straightforward.

Steps To Collect Reusable Charcoal Briquettes

· Place the used briquettes in charcoal chimney

· Shake it and rap it to dislodge the ashes from the bottom

This process will remove the small pieces along with ashes. Do it over the trash or any other preferred location. Now, transfer the large pieces to a dry place.


For ideal burning, the used pieces should remain cool and dry. Otherwise, it may produce a lot of smoke.

It is better to collect them as it cools down after barbecuing. This ensures that you can dry it before reusing them.

And, when you burn these used ones for one more time, it’ll reignite.

Follow the below-mentioned instructions on how to reuse it-

Reusing Charcoal For Next Time

· Start with new charcoal at the bottom

· Fill the chimney with fresh pieces up to its halfway or more

· Add the used charcoal to fill it

· Shake it properly to remove loose ashes

· Light up and go cooking

Once done, put off the grill to stop firing.

How To Put Out Charcoal Grill Fire After Cooking?

Once you have finished with barbecuing, you have to put off the grill fire as explained below. But you have to wait till it cools down.

It not only avoids accidents but also ensures you get a handy amount of burnt charcoal.

There are many methods of putting off the grill fire. Out of which, I have explained the best two for your needs.

1. Create Suffocation

If you cut the supply of atmospheric oxygen, it will reduce the flames. Close all vents and put the lid on the top. Wait for a couple of hours and it’s done.

Depending on its size and amount of fuel used, there will be variation in time required for stopping the fire and cooling the barbecue grill.

2. Spraying Water

Spray water to stop the fire but it’ll generate steam.

Water also provides oxygen (in a very less amount) to keep them burning. Yet, it works.

You must stand back and spray to keep away from rising hot steam.

Don’t use a lot of water. This will wet the charcoal and make it unreliable to use until it gets dried.


Though barbeque grill doesn’t produce a higher amount of fire, it is better to keep a fire extinguisher. It is a great measure to keep everyone safe during an emergency.

And, you better know what to do with used charcoal after using the extinguisher.

Let’s discuss some interesting facts-

How Long Does Charcoal Burn?

The burning of a fresh charcoal depends on two main factors- open grill and closed one.

If you consider an open picnic grill, it can burn for about 30 – 40 minutes. But it produces heat that lasts up to an hour or more.

In a closed one, there will be a greater variation of time. It can stay active for about 3 – 4 hours.

And, dry charcoal can produce flame within 10 – 15 minutes of ignition. It usually depends on the weather condition and supply of atmospheric oxygen.


If your charcoal won’t stay lit and produce smoke, you have to wait for a few more minutes. It happens when there is damp charcoal present.

What To Do With Charcoal Ash?

Surprisingly, there are many ways of using charcoal ash. Make sure it is cool and you want to dispose it right now.

· Good quality ash is used as a fertilizer for many plants. It contains potash that increases the pH level of the soil.

· Mix it with water and spray around your vegetable garden. It prevents the growth of unwanted beetles, lice, mites and more.

· Wood charcoal ash helps in controlling algae growth in pond

· Keep it in a perforated bag and refrigerate. Place it in your shoes to reduce odor whenever required.

Apart from this, you can even use it to break down organic matter in compost.

Bottom Line

I hope you get the answer to queries like “How can you reuse charcoal for barbecuing?” And, this information ensures that you can save dollars on every occasion.

Fill your grill with used and new charcoal to light it up. For any queries and suggestions, you are free to comment on below section.

About the author

Patricia Jones

Patricia is a fine dining chef at Wake Forest, North Carolina. She is also a caring mom and a lovely sister. Her heart and passion lies in the art of cooking great dishes for her family and customers.

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