Repair Water Damaged Coals
If you smoke consistently, you’ll eventually run into this problem. You tear into a fresh box of natural coals and start using them. Before long, you realize a lot of your coals are going out after 20 or 30 minutes. Your coals are water damaged. It might have been too much moisture in the air. Perhaps they were stored improperly, or maybe you got a bad box. However it happened, before you throw away 15 hard earned dollars, try to repair that box. It’s not a quick fix, but it’s not hard. At all. The solution comes by way of baking the moisture out of your coals. It’s simple, but must be done correctly. This method should only be used on natural coals. The lighting agents in quick light coals may be unpredictable. In the interest of not burning the house down, just don’t try it.
Spread Out Your Coals
There’s no way to know, by looking at a coal, if it has been water damaged. So, if you have a box of coals where too many are going out, the best solution is to treat the whole box as damaged. Start by spreading your coals out on a cookie sheet. Try and keep them from stacking on top of each other, if you can.
Set Your Oven
Set the temperature on your oven to about 250 – 300 degrees. If the oven has a convection setting, use it. Convect on an oven basically turns a fan on inside the oven. This causes the hot air to move around and will help the heat get in between the coals. If your oven does not have a convect setting, use the standard ‘bake” setting instead.
Bake the Coals
Now, set the coals in the oven. Allow them to bake for 2 – 4 hours, then remove them and allow them to fully cool before returning them to an air tight container. (Don’t have one? Why not this one?).
Depending how much moisture your coals absorbed, you may need more or less time. If you’ve baked the coals for 3 hours and you’re still finding that some go out, try putting them back in the oven for a couple more hours. If there is still no success, you might consider getting in touch with manufacturer. Companies like Coconara have been known to replace water damaged coals at no cost.
Taking Care of Coals
The best way to avoid having to do this is to prevent water damage in the first place. Remember, coals should be stored in very dry areas. Ideally, in air tight, glass or plastic containers. If you’re storing your coals in the box they came in, consider purchasing some storage. In the long run, it will save you time and money.