Can BBQ Charcoal Get Wet?

If you’ve left a bag of charcoal in the garden overnight, or are perhaps considering a BBQ in harsher conditions, you will likely be dealing wet coals. That inevitably leads to the question: Can BBQ charcoal get wet?

No, wet charcoal can no longer be used on a BBQ. Most charcoal will crumble immediately when it comes into contact with moisture, leaving behind a powder when dried. You will also find it virtually impossible to light, as the water seeps into the highly porous coals.  

If your charcoal gets wet, it’s probably best to throw it away. This article explains why and also features some useful tips for preserving your charcoal in the future.

Can BBQ Charcoal Get Wet?

Can You Dry Out Charcoal?

In most cases, wet charcoal will disintegrate into a powder after it’s been dried. Obviously, this can't be used on a BBQ. If you opted for higher quality charcoal, it may not lose shape after drying out, but will be almost impossible to light. Even if you do manage to ignite this charcoal, chances are you won’t want to. The coals will give off large levels of smoke, ruining the taste of the food as a result. Simply buying a new bag of charcoal can help to avoid a more costly mistake.

Can Slightly Damp Charcoal Be Used On A BBQ?

If the charcoal has only had minimal exposure to moisture, it could still be salvageable. This is only the case if a few drops of water have somehow found its way inside the charcoal bag. It’s highly recommended to throw out the damper coals before drying out the rest as thoroughly as possible. If it’s not crumbling and is completely dry, you can then try and cook with it.

To help these coals ignite, mix them with an equal amount of fresh charcoal. Keep the new coals on the bottom, as these will help to light the slightly damp batch. This procedure will also ensure that the coals on top do not burn out.

How To Correctly Store Charcoal

Charcoal should be kept in a container that is both waterproof and airtight. This will keep it in the best possible condition. Nowadays, there are a variety of products on the market made exclusively for this purpose, but any plastic storage container can work just as well. Regardless of how you store your charcoal, it should be used within a year of purchase.


To wrap up this article, wet charcoal should not be used on a BBQ. It can end up doing more harm than good, ruining your food with excessive amounts of smoke. Coals that are slightly damp may be salvageable, but buying a fresh bag of charcoal is always the safest and recommended option. Another article that may help you is: BBQ Charcoal Vs Wood

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