Does Charcoal Go Bad Or Have An Expiry Date: An In-Depth Guide

March 30, 2023 6 min read

Does Charcoal Go Bad Or Have An Expiry Date: An In-Depth Guide

As an avid outdoor cooking enthusiast, you probably have a lot of charcoal stored in your home. However, you might wonder if this substance goes bad or has an expiry date. After all, you don’t want to use bad charcoal for your cooking, as that can affect the flavor of the food. 

So, if you are wondering whether charcoal goes bad, you have come to the right place. Here is an in-depth guide that will explain everything you need to know about this substance. 

What Is The Lifespan Of Charcoal?

The key to knowing whether the charcoal will go bad is to understand its average lifespan. Fortunately, the lifespan of charcoal is indefinite, which means that it will never expire or go bad. However, the only way to ensure this is to store the charcoal in a cool and dry place. 

This means that you should keep it away from any place that has a lot of moisture. That is because the material is porous, and it will easily take in the moisture present in the surroundings. So, the right storage will guarantee that the charcoal stays good for as long as you need. 

Storage Tips To Ensure A Long Lifespan Of Charcoal 

Now that you know that the lifespan of charcoal is dependent on storage, it is important for you to store it right. Here are some tips you can follow that will guarantee that you are storing the charcoal in the best way possible: 

  1. No Exposure To Moisture 

The most important tip you can follow is that the charcoal should not have any exposure to moisture where you store it. This is why a cool and dry place will be the ideal option for you. If you have made this mistake, then the charcoal will have a weird smell, and it will be of no use. 

That is because moisture can lead to the growth of mold, which should not be present anywhere in your house. It poses health and safety risks for all the members of the household. This is why a cool and dry place for storage is the best option. 

  1. Use An Airtight Bag Or Container

Charcoal Storage Container

Apart from the place, even what you use to store the charcoal should not let any moisture or humidity inside. Because of this, it is best that you store the charcoal inside an airtight bag or container. Following this tip will reduce the growth of mold because of moisture. 

Besides that, it will also keep the integrity of your charcoal intact for a long time to come. So, make sure that you use something airtight to store your charcoal. 

  1. Keep Away From Any Water Sources Nearby 

If you store your charcoal near any water source, there is a high chance that it might become wet. When this happens to charcoal, it will be impossible for you to use them as fuel. That is because the water will render the charcoal to be useless. 

This is why we also urge you to check that the cabinets or storage place is not damaged by water. Doing such checks will guarantee that the place is dry. Once it is, you can store the charcoal there without any problems. 

5 Steps To Check If Charcoal Has Gone Bad

There are many people that store charcoal for a long time and forget about it. If this is the case with you, then you can always follow some steps to check if the charcoal has gone bad. Such a test will help you understand whether your charcoal is good to use. 

Here are all the steps you must follow for this:

  1. Add some fuel to your chimney starter. 
  2. Light the charcoal as you usually do when you add it to the starter. 
  3. If it is challenging for the charcoal to ignite and it can’t maintain a flame, then it means there is a lot of moisture inside the charcoal. 
  4. Let it burn for half an hour before you use the lighter fluid for assistance. 
  5. We recommend that you use a natural fire starter to keep the fire going. 

Follow these five steps, and you will understand whether your charcoal has gone bad. If it has moisture, you can take the assistance of lighter fluid or natural fire starters. However, if you don’t want to do this, then you can get rid of the charcoal and purchase new ones. 

Top Types Of Charcoal You Can Use For Outdoor Cooking

Now that you understand the lifespan of charcoal and what makes it go bad, it is important that you invest in the right type of charcoal for your needs. Here are the top types of charcoal you can use for outdoor cooking purposes:

  1. Briquettes

charcoal briquettes

If you love grilling, then briquettes will prove to be the perfect option for your cooking needs. Such charcoal has been created by compressing the charcoal with a binder. The biggest advantage of using this charcoal is that it can burn for a long time. 

That is because charcoal has been treated with other things to ensure its integrity and structure. On the other hand, they are also better at managing the high heat during cooking. Because of this, they are simple and convenient to use. 

However, one thing you should note is that they can sometimes create a foul odor in the beginning because of the additional coating. Besides that, they might also create a lot of ash when using it for grilling. 

  1. Lump Charcoal

Lump Charcoal

The most common and popular type of charcoal is lump charcoal, which is made with hardwood and no additional treatments. Charcoal is created when the wood is burned without any oxygen. So, you will find that this type of charcoal is quick to burn and can withstand high temperatures. 

However, one limitation of this charcoal can be that it might not burn evenly at all times. We recommend that you use this type of charcoal if you are planning on grilling hot dogs, hamburgers, or vegetables. The key is to use meats that cook quickly to make the most of this type of charcoal.

  1. Binchotan Charcoal

Binchotan Charcoal

You might have heard of Binchotan before because these are traditional types of charcoal that have been produced for hundreds of years now. This type of charcoal requires a lot of labor to be produced, as the process is lengthy. Binchotan is created from Japanese oak tree wood pieces and branches. 

Once the manufacturer sources these materials, they heat them inside the kiln for between one and three weeks. Doing this ensures that the consistency of the charcoal is ideal for burning. Keep in mind that this type of charcoal is not easily available. 

That is because the process is lengthy, which is why manufacturers don’t make it. So, it is best to stick to other types of charcoal for your grilling needs. 

  1. Hardwood Charcoal 

Hardwood Charcoal

Creating hardwood charcoal utilizes a similar process to creating briquettes. However, what you will notice is that these will burn much more slowly than briquettes. That is because the density of the wood is high, which means that it takes time to conduct heat properly. 

So, if you are someone that likes to grill food for a long time, then you can use this type of charcoal. It will allow everything to grill for a long time without you having to reignite or refill. If you are looking for such ease, then you can opt for hardwood charcoal. 

  1. Coconut Shell 

Coconut Shell

Finally, the last type of charcoal has been created using coconut shells. This type of charcoal is made using coconut shells, which many people discard because they think that the material is useless. However, it is a great charcoal that will burn for a long time and prove to be much stronger than other types. 

However, the only problem with this type of charcoal is that you will not find it easily in the market. You can look for it in your region and see if you can find it for your grilling needs. The best part is that it doesn’t create any aroma while grilling.

So, in the long run, it is ideal for grilling and barbecuing food. Make sure that you consider this option and check the availability in your region.

Want to know how much smoke should come out of a smoker? Check out our comprehensive guide for everything you need to know about smoke level of a smoker and how to control it.

Final Words 

That was everything you needed to know about if charcoal goes bad. The answer depends on how well you store the charcoal. So, if you want to make the most of grilling, then make sure that you are following these guidelines. 

It will allow you to have the best results that will guarantee an ideal charcoal for your cooking. Just make sure that you weigh the features of each charcoal and select the best one for what you need. Once you do, your family and friends will love the grilled food you offer.

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