What To Do With Charcoal After Grilling? [5 Solutions]

  • By: Brendan

By far, my favorite type of grill is a charcoal one. There is no comparison to the flavor you’ll get barbecuing anything from corn to meat, and even the vegetables preserve their unique succulent properties!

I’ve been using a charcoal grill for over a decade now, and it’s still in good shape. I don’t mind a little bit of cleaning after I’m done using the grill since charcoal is one of the products you can also clean with.

But, most newcomers on the grilling scene have asked me what to do with charcoal after grilling. Well, my dear fellows, I’m going to show you all the things you can do with the leftover charcoal after you’ve grilled your heart out.

What To Do With Charcoal After Grilling


What to Do With Charcoal After Grilling

If you’ve got a charcoal grill and you’re throwing away the charcoal after barbecuing, you should stop that right this instant. Throwing away charcoal won’t damage Mother Nature, so you don’t have to worry about that. But why would you even throw perfectly reusable charcoal?

Buying new packages of charcoal over and over again will put a serious dent in your wallet, especially if you’re a grilling devotee. However, some of the charcoal cannot be reused since it’s fully burned out, and you can’t ignite your grill with them. If that’s the problem, then you need to be careful how you dispose of it safely. You don’t want to start a fire, do you? To avoid that, here is the appropriate way of disposing of your charcoal:

  • Do not pour water directly on your grill to cool down the charcoal. Just remove the pieces from your grill, and dump them in a bucket full of water if you don’t want to wait for them to cool down on their own.
  • When they’re appropriately cooled down, you should cover and wrap around all of the ashes in aluminum foil.
  • After that, just throw them away in a trash can but remember to always keep the charcoal and ashes away from anything flammable.

This method is very straightforward for charcoal that can’t be reused anytime soon. Now let’s see 5 solutions on what to do with charcoal that you think might be reusable.


5 Ways to Reuse Charcoal After Grilling

Yes, even charcoal is reusable after you’re done barbecuing with a charcoal grill. And no, this won’t make you a cheapskate or a hoarder. Instead, it’ll make you a person who uses the most of what you have. After you’ve done grilling, gently remove the charcoal with a grill thong and fireproof gloves, and store them in a bucket of water to cool them down.

Now, you can pick out one of these 5 solutions to reuse your charcoal. Exciting, isn’t it?

1. Using Charcoal as Fertilizer for Your Garden

For this solution to work, you have to get yourself all-natural charcoal without any additives in it. That’s why you’re highly advised to look out for charcoal that doesn’t have any additives because you may do more harm to your garden than good.

Wood charcoal works best as a fertilizer after you’re done with grilling. The wood charcoal contains potassium carbonate, which provides many nutrients for many vegetation. Potassium carbonate also raises the PH levels of your land.

Carefully place all of the charcoal that you think might be of use and let it just merge with the soil. This will eventually create a good fertilizer but tread cautiously since it all depends on what you’re producing.

2. Reusing Charcoal for Another Barbecue

Next on the list on what to do with charcoal after grilling is… Drum roll, please. Another grilling adventure!

This is the most frequent way that people reuse their charcoal, and I’m one of them. There are a bunch of methods you could go on about with reused charcoal for your next barbecuing session, but 2 of them work the best.

If your next barbecue can wait, and it’ll happen more than two days after you’ve grilled with the charcoal, then you should just drop down the lid, smother the charcoal, and wait for it to cool off on its own.

And if you’re not patient, you can just dump the charcoal in a metal water bucket, and they’ll turn from sizzling hot to cold lumps of coal in a matter of minutes. All that’s left is for you to relocate the good charcoal in your grill, add just a few more, and you’re good to go. Keep in mind that you’d need to wait for the charcoal to dry well before using it again.

3. Simmering Down a Rusting Process

With your used charcoal, you can use it to simmer down or eventually stop the rusting process altogether. This is because charcoal is a natural absorbent and quickly absorbs moisture. So, you can put your charcoal wherever you think it may be helpful to slow down the rusting process. For example, a metal toolkit will work. Just wrap it all up in a mesh pouch and throw it in the toolkit.

4. Getting Rid of Bad Odor in Your Home

As we’ve talked about how charcoal is a natural absorbent, it can also absorb nasty smells as well as moisture. Don’t go throwing your used charcoal just yet. If your home smells foul at a certain place, get yourself a mesh pouch again, and drop the charcoal in it. After that, just hang it close to wherever you smell that awful odor, and voila – the smell will eventually fade away.

5. Repelling Pests

If you’re tired of using those nasty pesticides to repel pests and all sorts of bugs, then used wooden charcoal might be your best friend. Used wooden charcoal helps with repelling mites and lice and other bugs. If you have crops, you can also dilute charcoal in water and spray it on the leaves to prevent slugs, worms, and other pests from damaging your crops.


Do you Let Charcoal Burn Out After Grilling?

Well, to tell you the truth, you can let the charcoal burn out on its own after grilling. However, it’s not good to let it burn out in the open air since it’s a potential fire hazard. Leaving them to burn out on their own has its own risks, and it’s going to take a long time for them to start cooling down.

That’s why you can smother the charcoal in your grill to prevent potential dangers from happening. Also, you can remove them with a grilling thong and put the charcoal in a bucket of water.


How Long Does Charcoal Take to Burn out?

Keep in mind that burning out and cooling down isn’t the same thing. Charcoal tends to burn out after around 3 hours to 5 hours maximum, depending on whether they’re briquettes or regular lumps. While for charcoal to completely cool down, it’ll take around 2 days (48 hours). In the meantime, while they’ve burned out, they can still be a likely fire hazard.

How to Put out Charcoal for Reuse?

One thing’s for sure, smothering charcoal is the best way to go about this since it will retain all of its properties and can be reused. If you want to put out the charcoal while dumping them in water, make sure that the charcoal is of good quality.

Cheap charcoal is brittle, and when it gets wet, it may crumble to pieces – rendering it useless! While if the charcoal is of higher quality, you just need to let the charcoal dry on its own and it’ll be ready for reusing again.


Can You Put out Charcoal With Water?

Of course, you can! Fire’s biggest enemy is water, right? Well, you may be surprised but your grill has the same enemy as fire does. You’re absolutely not advised to pour down water directly on your grill to put out charcoal. Sprinkling them is a somewhat alright idea, but it won’t do the grill any good since it may cause it to rust.

Just get your grill thongs at hand, remove the charcoal pieces from the grill one by one, and gently put them down in a metal water bucket to immediately put them out. All in all, don’t let your grill get wet, ever!

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