You are done with grilling and have all the food on the table and now ask yourself what to do with charcoal after grilling.
Updated: March, 2023
There are a few options and it depends on the type of charcoal you are using.
Most leftover charcoal can be re-used even when it is partially burnt!
Putting Out The Grill First
One important step is to put out the charcoal on the grill as fast as you can after ending your grill session.
Starve It From Oxygen
The best way to do this is to starve it from Oxygen by closing all air vents on you charcoal grill. It still might take a while and I advice to wait at least 12 hours to make sure the charcoal is also cooled off.
In some situations you might have to use water to put your fire out, That does not mean that you have to discard it after that.
As soon as the fire is try to remove the charcoal from the water. Let the charcoal dry for about 48 hours.
What To Do With Old Charcoal?
So, now everything is cooled of and after sifting out the ashes I will give you a few options what you can do with charcoal after grilling or smoking.
What Charcoal To Toss Out?
In my experience the charcoal with added chemicals such as self-lightning charcoal, although I never use it, should be dumped out for that reason.
As you might now I like to cook low and slow on my UDS smoker and this means that I have long cooking sessions.
The charcoal that I use is most of the time not all burned or partially burnt. To save me some money I filter the ashes out and re-use the charcoal that is left.
Don’t throw away the ashes yet! More about what you can do with that later
I do the same on my charcoal grill and have saved me quite some money over time.
For The Garden
I would only do this with Lump Charcoal!
Most people do not know this but you can use the charcoal ashes you just filtered out in your garden.
You can also use the pieces of charcoal that are too small to re-use for this purpose.
It is a great amendment for your soil and adding it to your soil will help with the acidity of it and help you grow better vegetables and even flower beds will benefit from it.
I have spread it on my lawn and had no problem with that either.
The composter or compost pile is also a place to put your used charcoal. Try not using too much since it will make the compost too alkaline.
If you place the charcoal you have sifted out in a, preferably, fine-mesh bag it will absorb some moisture and odors.
What To Do With Charcoal After Grilling – My Opinion
Related read: https://bettergrills.com/how-to-use-vents-on-a-charcoal-grill/
Related read: https://bettergrills.com/how-to-store-charcoal/
There are even more ways to use the charcoal you have left after grilling I have just mentioned a few I have used and tested.
Especially the use in your vegetable garden or just sprinkle it on your lawn works well in my case.
Other uses of used charcoal I read about are:
Intestinal aid for emergencies. Chew on a small piece to reduce your symptoms. Remember only for emergency use it is not activated charcoal!
Brushing your teeth with charcoal has been done for centuries. I have seen a video on how to do that. You just have to rinse out your mouth really well.
It can also be used in soap making if you prefer the pioneer way.
Eddie van Aken
Eddie van Aken has years of experience in running his full-service restaurant and with this came working with using and dealing with all types of kitchen equipment. With his experience, he is able to find all the pros and cons of grills and add them to the grill reviews he is doing. You can read more on the about page for Eddie van Aken