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Daddy-A

What To Do with Old Coals

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One of the side-effects of grilling and smoking with charcoal is the plethora of ash and partially burnt briquettes at the end. When camping or at the beach, there's usually a disposal bin specifically for ash. But at home, I've just been dumping them in the garbage (after they've cooled down of course :rolleyes: .) I've heard the compost pile works, but we don't compost (space & rat issues).

Is there a better way?

A.

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One of the side-effects of grilling and smoking with charcoal is the plethora of ash and partially burnt briquettes at the end.  When camping or at the beach, there's usually a disposal bin specifically for ash.  But at home, I've just been dumping them in the garbage (after they've cooled down of course :rolleyes: .)  I've heard the compost pile works, but we don't compost (space & rat issues).

Is there a better way? 

A.

I vote for the composte pile.


Living hard will take its toll...

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I'm with Chris. Reuse them. I either add more charcoal from the chimney (if I'm grilling) or put them in a bag to add to the side if I'm smoking. Seems like a waste to toss something that I paid for that has life in it.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I'm with Chris.  Reuse them.  I either add more charcoal from the chimney (if I'm grilling) or put them in a bag to add to the side if I'm smoking.  Seems like a waste to toss something that I paid for that has life in it.

Oh, I re-use them allright, if there's enough to re-use. I have a bucket off to the side where I toss the "keepers." I was asking more about the ash. After an overnight smoke there's a lot of ash to deal with.

The Norwegian in me says use the ash to make lye, and then make lutefiske. Then the Canadian in my reminds me I don't really like lutefiske. :hmmm:

I'm hoping for something inspired like lutefiske ... but I may have to settle for the compost pile.

A.

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We throw them down the outhouse bunghole to keep flies and odours at bay, Arne. But once again, wait until thy're thoroughly out: The coincidence of hot coals and methane can disturb the neighbours and adds one more nasty chore to the 'Honey Do' jar.


from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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I use lump hardwood charcoal (and lately plain ol' wood), so along with the ashes I get a lot of bits of unburnt coal that fall through the grate. Besides that, in a 40-lb bag of mesquite coal I'll find 30 lbs of useable chunks varying from fist- to log-size, leaving me with 10 lbs of coal dust and bits too small to use. All of this goes into the compost heap.

Any idea what all that coal will do to my garden soil? Do aphids get blacklung?


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ID

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I'm w/Ivan. Regular charcoal produces too much ash. Ever since I started using lump I'm far happier -- there's far less ash, it's easier to light and it burns hotter.

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I was going to mix the ash into the garden but I read on the Kingsford site (or on the bag) that they did not advise using the ash in that way, even though they were the "natural" briquettes (no lighter fluid).

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I only use hardwood charcoal, no briquettes. I save the ashes in a 55 gallon drum for a guy who makes soap. He stops by every 2 months or so to pick up the one with the ashes and drop off an empty one. He also has given me some of the soap he makes for cleaning oil and grease off of concrete - works great. He sells it mostly to mechanics who work on big rigs and heavy equipment.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I save the ashes in a 55 gallon drum for a guy who makes soap. 

That is so COOL!!!


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ID

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I only use hardwood charcoal, no briquettes.  I save the ashes in a 55 gallon drum for a guy who makes soap. 

Now THAT is what makes eGullet so frickin' cool!! Thanks Andie!!

Now all I need to do is go find me a soap maker. :huh:

A.

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If you flush the ashes down the toilet they'll be processed @ your local sewage treatment plant.

Flush the throne and slowly add the ashes-if some are left floating lay a layer of comfort paper on top and re-flush.

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You might also talk to a local potter to see if they would be interested in using your ash for glazing pots.


It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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I also use hardwood lump, so I have little recent experience with briquettes. But don't briquettes have a sizeable % of clay as a binder? Is that good for compost?

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If you flush the ashes down the toilet they'll be processed @ your local sewage treatment plant.

Flush the throne and slowly add the ashes-if some are left floating lay a layer of comfort paper on top and re-flush.

I really don't think the local sewage treatment plants would approve of this approach. The little coal bits are hard and difficult to break down, and the ash is going to affect the pH of the water treatment system. (I realize that one person doing this is unlikely to have any effect. It's the magnification of having many people do it that would be a problem.) In the end, the solids are screened out of the sewage - that is, if they didn't plug a line along the way - and put into the landfill or burned or possibly land-applied as fertilizer, depending on what your sewage works does. It's better and more energy-efficient to send the material directly to the landfill via the garbage dumpster. The general attitude of the sewage folks is that it's best to keep the non-sewage solids out of the sewage in the first place - hence, the prohibition of garbage disposals in some cities. Hm..some cities have municipal composting programs. If yours does, you could add the ash to that, since you don't compost yourself.

I like the soap and pottery ideas. If you happen to have a garden with acidic soil you can use some of the ash to correct the pH, but it sounds like you've already looked at that one.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I have buried these in the garden for years. Any convenient place will do. And we get a lot of compliments on our garden.

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