How Many Times Can You Reuse Lump Charcoal?

Lighting up the BBQ can seem like a fairly inexpensive task; however, the cost of charcoal can certainly add up. This is especially true for those who opt for higher quality lump charcoal, such as premium and all-natural varieties. To combat this steep price point, you can actually reuse your coals.

You can reuse lump charcoal one more time. It will still burn sufficiently, giving you enough heat to cook most foods. Doing this will save you money and ensure that there is less waste. Lump charcoal that has been used will keep for approximately 6 months after the first use.

Of course, you have to be careful when reusing lump charcoal. Making sure that you preserve those coals while avoiding ones that are completely burn out is key. Below is our guide for reusing charcoal, as well as various tips to give you the best results!

How Many Times Can You Reuse Lump Charcoal?

How To Reuse Lump Charcoal

Now that we’ve established that reusing charcoal is definitely possible, let’s look at how to do it properly.

1. Put Your BBQ Out Immediately – The faster you stop your lump charcoal from burning, the more cooking time you’ll have on your next session. To do this, simply shut the lid on your BBQ after you’ve finished cooking. With no oxygen to feed the flames, the coals will soon be put out. It may go without saying, but you should avoid pouring water on your lump charcoal if you plan on reusing it again. In almost all cases, charcoal that has had any contact with water will not light again.

2. Remove The Ash – You only want to preserve the charcoal that has some energy left. If it has burnt into ashes, it will be useful for your next BBQ. The easiest way to remove the ash, is to pick out the whole coals that remain under the grill.

3. Store The Coals – Now that you have a selection of coals that can be used again, you have to store them correctly. Using an airtight container is perfect for this, as long as it is non-combustible. Even when used, lump charcoal can be kept for many months. However, using them within a month or two will likely yield the best results.

Tips For Reusing Lump Charcoal

For those that haven’t quite mastered the art of reusing your coals, below are a few tips to make the process even easier:

Make Use Of An Ash Basket

If you don’t want to keep picking charcoal out of your BBQ, you could consider investing in an ash basket. This is, as the name suggests, a basket that will sit beneath the grill. All you have to do is pick up and shake the ash out of the sides. You will be left with coals that can be reused. Keep in mind that you need to wait until the coals are completely cool before attempting this process.

Use The Second Hand Charcoal As A Base

If you are planning on cooking for a large group, you may want to consider using the old coals as a base. Spread them out across the bottom of the BBQ, or ash basket if you have one. From here, you can carefully place new coals on top. Opting for a base can help the fresh charcoal to burn for longer while also providing heat faster.

Recycle The Coals

Regardless of whether you’ve used the charcoal once or twice, you can still recycle it by using a variety of methods. They can be used to supress weeds or to assist with plant growth. Natural lump charcoal is best to recycle, as there are no extra additives. To learn more, check out our blog post called ‘What can I do with BBQ ash?’.


Reusing your lump charcoal will save you money, while also helping the environment. The less you waste, the more effective your cooking can become. We hope you that you find these methods useful and are able to use them to save a bit of cash!