If you’re like us and love the sizzle and aroma of a good barbecue, then you’re probably itching for the season’s first cookout. 

The excitement builds as you dust off the grill and rummage through your tools to unearth that reliable bag of charcoal. But as you peer into the partially used contents, doubts start to creep in. Can lumpwood charcoal go bad? How long can it be stored? Does wet charcoal spoil the party? 

Fear not, dear grill master, for we at The Green Olive Firewood Company have all the answers to your charcoal confusion. Our experts are here to help you store your charcoal like a pro and ensure your cookouts are always a success. 

So sit back, relax, and let us take your grilling game to the next level.

summer BBQ

But What is Lumpwood Charcoal? 

Natural lumpwood charcoal is the secret ingredient that transforms your BBQ from mediocre to mouth-watering. But, what exactly is lumpwood charcoal? It’s created through a process called carbonisation, where hardwood lumps are burned slowly, without oxygen, resulting in pure carbon lumps with all impurities burned away.

However, the process is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to charcoal made from lumpwood. To create a truly tantalising taste, it’s essential to choose the right type of lumpwood charcoal. With a lot of options available, the choice can be overwhelming. Whether you’re looking for smoky, sweet or spicy flavours, choosing the right type of BBQ charcoal is just as important as the ingredients when looking to elevate your BBQ game.

Natural Charcoal

Why Lump Wood Charcoal Is Great For BBQs

Now that we’ve unlocked the secret to lumpwood charcoal, let’s dive into its impressive characteristics and how it elevates your grilling game. Lumpwood charcoal is the Ferrari of the grilling world – it ignites quickly and burns at a higher temperature than natural charcoal briquettes, making it perfect for searing meats to perfection.

But the perks don’t stop there. Most lumpwood charcoal is 100% natural and free from harmful chemicals, ensuring your food tastes as it should – delicious! Plus, its minimal ash production makes cleanup a breeze, so you can focus on enjoying your grilled feast. 

What is Hardwood Lump Charcoal?

Selecting the right charcoal can be an overwhelming task, especially when there are a multitude of wood options to choose from. From classic Oak to fragrant Applewood and Maple, the world of lumpwood charcoal is filled with exciting possibilities. These hardwoods are renowned for producing dense and durable charcoal, which promises to keep the flames alive for longer periods of time. Each wood brings a unique burning quality to your grill, enhancing the flavour of your food and elevating your BBQ game to new heights.

Where and how these hardwood trees have grown plays a large part in the unique tastes and aromas of your foods. 

These factors are:

  • Geography
  • Climate
  • Bark thickness
  • Wood’s drying time 
  • Water content

different types of hardwood

Can BBQ Lumpwood Charcoal Go Bad? 

Although BBQ charcoal is primarily composed of carbon and is extremely stable. There are some factors that can contribute to the decline of wood charcoal. However, there are some  tips that will make sure your lumpwood charcoal can last indefinitely!

Store in a cool dry place 

While charcoal has the potential to last forever, conditions that are humid or wet can cause mould growth on your precious charcoal. Moisture is the enemy of charcoal due to its highly porous properties. Ensure when storing lumpwood charcoal that you keep them in a cool, dry place with optimal airflow. 

The good news is that if you do end up getting your lump wood charcoal wet, you do not need to give up on it!

What To Do If Your Charcoal Gets Wet

Is wet charcoal still usable? In short, yes to some extent. If your lumpwood charcoal is exposed to moisture it will absorb it like a sponge and you’ll need to act quickly if you plan on salvaging what’s left.

Spread them out in a single layer and lay them out in the sun for a few days (make sure to check the weather forecast for the week!). Flipping each piece of charcoal each day is a great way to maximise the chances that the hardwood charcoal will dry to the core. 

Now the real test, will it ignite? When attempting to light recently dried-out charcoal it’s best to start with some fresh charcoal, this will give your wet-to-dry charcoal the best chance of igniting to get your grill going. 

You may also be wondering, “can mould grow on my charcoal”. Yes, however because of the high temperatures that charcoal is cooked at any mould and bacteria is burned away. However, if you don’t want to tarnish the taste of your food then it’s best to steer clear of mouldy charcoal pieces. 

Top Tips For Grilling With Lumpwood Charcoal 

Of course the Ultimate Guide To Lumpwood Charcoal wouldn’t be complete without some top tips for using charcoal to cook mouth-watering dishes. 

Avoid Pre-Coated Lumpwoods

You will already know to avoid strange flavours in your foods you will want to put down the lighter fluid. The same thing can be said for lump hardwood charcoal that is pre-coated with lighter fluids. Best to choose organic charcoals that contain zero harmful chemicals and opt for natural firelighter instead to help kick start your flames. 

Make Sure Your Charcoal Is Red Hot

It’s important to know that waiting till your lumpwood charcoal turns grey-white hot will definitely pay off in the long run. When the charcoal is this hot it means you will find it easier to achieve the right temperature for your grill. 

If there are still black pieces of lumpwood charcoal whilst you are using the BBQ they will eventually ignite causing uneven temperature surges that can risk burning your ingredients – this is something all grill masters want to avoid. 

Grey white charcoal

Achieve A Perfectly Smoky Flavour With Wood

If you’re looking to enhance the smoky taste and aromas infused into your grills then some smoking wood chips might be your go-to. Different types of wood chunks are perfect for achieving various smoky and sweet flavours to your meals and work especially well when cooking over long periods of time at a lower temperature. Simply soak & place handfuls of the wood chips on top of the lumpwood charcoal and watch the magic happen!

If you’re grilling at a higher temperature then smokin’ BBQ wood chunks are perfect to get the same smoky goodness you desire.


As you arrive at the end of this article, we trust you’ve gathered valuable knowledge on the secrets of lumpwood charcoal, just in time for the sizzling summer season. At The Green Olive Firewood Company, we strive to provide affordable and eco-friendly grilling solutions to all our customers. 

If you enjoyed reading this piece, dive into our other captivating blogs to explore innovative and sustainable cooking methods that will leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.