WSM preserving charcoal

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by kryinggame, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    Hey gang,

    I've been using my 18" WSM for over a year now.  Prior to each smoke, I'd clean out the ashes from the previous smoke.  Earlier today, I used 2 chimmney's of Kingsford charcoal to smoke about 18 wings.  After 2 hours, they were done (and tasty).  But the smoker was still going at 300 degrees strong.  Tomorrow, I plan on doing a few racks of ribs.

    Here's my question: Can I preserve and re-use the charcoal that's still in the smoker or is it still a better policy to dump and use fresh?

    It just occured to me that after I finish whatever I'm smoking, the WSM is still going strong for hours and hours until the charcoal burns out--it's a shame that it's a waste.

  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    KG, morning.....  I close all the vents when finished grilling in my Weber....   charcoal goes out and I relight it next batch.....  If your WSM is air tight, that should work....   I dump the ash, add new briquettes to the chimney, add used briquettes to the chimney and light it.... 
  3. more ice

    more ice Smoke Blower

    Dave X2
  4. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Another option is to have a second set of meat ready to throw on the WSM after your primary meal is done.  Since a full ring of charcoal will last at least a good 8-10 hours (at least), just plan on two loads of meat that will work in that time frame.

    I like to have something simple like a few fatties, chicken pieces or some fresh sausage that I know I can either vaccum pack & freeze or zip lock bag in the fridge and reheat single serving portions from over the coming days & weeks.  My logic was to save the charcoal which is no longer full sized as it is partially burned, by the time you relight it, those smaller pieces are pretty much gone anyway.

    I've also found that if you are going to vaccum pack fatties and intend on single serving portions later, I cut them into nice thick slices before freezing.  I can then either pop a slice or two in the microwave or in the frying pan and slip it between two biscuits for and easy breakfast later.
  5. Gary Wiviott would cringe at what I'm about to say.  I do like others have said above and close the vents.  If it's not really humid or raining you should be fine to reuse it.  If the cooker is sitting out for a while and the charcoal absorbs moisture - which is what charcoal does for a living - you may have an issue, otherwise there's not a thing wrong with reusing the residual.  I do it all the time.
  6. kryinggame

    kryinggame Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks gents. I did close the vents last night. I'm about to throw a few ribs on the WSM. I just checked and the charcoal that I used last night still looks good. Not broken up and ash like yet. But I am preparing some more charcoal in my chimney. Wow, I'm going to save a lot on charcoal. I definitely use alot of charcoal when I smoke and I've been starting fresh each time.

    Thanks all!

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