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Reusing WFO Coals?? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Reusing WFO Coals??

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  • Reusing WFO Coals??

    Just wondering if anyone kills the fire after baking and reuses the coals for the next fire?

    After baking, I scrape the coals over the oven floor then place the door and suffocate the fire. I shift the coals to one side before lighting the new fire and the existing coals light up and support the main fire.

    The one thing that I was wondering about is if there may be an ash build up if I keep doing this process. Is there any advantage in having a brand new fire every time? If that is the case, is it best to just let the fire burn itself out without the door on?
    / Rossco

  • #2
    Re: Reusing WFO Coals??

    I don't use them for relighting the next fire, but I do pull the big ones out and use them to grill. I save them in a metal can with a tight-fitting lid.

    I use my oven a lot for bread, which involves sweeping it out, so I don't have an ash build up.

    I sure wish I could get to my oven now.... it's snow covered at the moment and I just don't have the motivation to dig it out...
    Elizabeth

    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/e...html#post41545

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    • #3
      Re: Reusing WFO Coals??

      Rossco,
      When I am baking rolls for pulled pork I fire my WFO then when the WFO is hot move the coals and burning wood to a wheeled BBQ rolled up close so the exchange is quick and easy. I then do the usual wait for the right temp, snuffle the floor etc. and bake the rolls.

      Wheeling the BBQ back to the front of the WFO I then replace the still burning coals to one side of the WFO and place two firebricks (heated when firing the WFO) on long edge as a barrier between the fire and where I will slide in the roaster with pulled pork. I then smoke the pork by placing a aluminum foil "boat" with soaked chips on the coals and all but shut the door. After smoking I rake out the coals, cover the roaster and close up the WFO to bake the pork, usually overnight. See photo.

      I guess this would fit a definition of reusing my coals. However, I cannot see where the ashes cause a problem. One simply removes and cleans the WFO as needed. However, reusing the coals certainly could be a cost saver when one has to purchase their wood. My father used to save standard BBQ brickettes by dropping them in a bucket of water after a BBQ. Immediately after the fire has gone out (takes but a moment in the bucket of water) he would fish them out and the remaining heat in the brickettes would completely dry them for reuse at a later date.

      Bests,
      Wiley
      Attached Files

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      • #4
        Re: Reusing WFO Coals??

        Pulled pork looks good Wiley!!!

        Based on your and Elizabeth's feedback I think I may remove the (char) coals and use them in the Weber BBQ today so I can get a clean start for next weekend's pizza party.

        What I had noticed was that the ash from the white gum wood that I have been using made quite a bit of powdery ash and I thought that this would perhaps act as an inulation/absorber of heat. I will see if, with a clean fire, things are any different.
        / Rossco

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        • #5
          Re: Reusing WFO Coals??

          Just an update on this ...

          I have just started the webber using ONLY charcoal from the WFO (plus a bit of kindling).

          This is one of the best, easiest, hottest fires I have made recently. Definitely worth "stealing" some coals from the WFO for your next BBQ.
          Last edited by heliman; 02-14-2010, 05:00 AM.
          / Rossco

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          • #6
            Re: Reusing WFO Coals??

            I usually dump about 1/2 the coals into a bucket of water, then compost it, but I guess I could dry them out and use them again for fuel. I've found that most of the energy has gone once the flames have died, since the coals only seem to maintain the oven temp not raise it like the flames do.
            Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

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            • #7
              Re: Reusing WFO Coals??

              When I burn hard woods in the oven and need to pull out the coals for slow cooking, I put them into a wheelbarrow and keep them till the next fire. I find that they get a good fire going quite a bit quicker and hotter if I use them a second time. But with the soft wood (bankshia) it only leaves a soft white ash that is really no help at all.

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              • #8
                Re: Reusing WFO Coals??

                I too have been smothering, then sifting out the really tiny bits for fertilizer [terra preta] and ash .. a dirty job , but then we shouldn't be wearing our ''sunday clothes'' out near the oven..

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                • #9
                  Re: Reusing WFO Coals??

                  Originally posted by fornax hominus View Post
                  I too have been smothering, then sifting out the really tiny bits for fertilizer [terra preta] and ash .. a dirty job , but then we shouldn't be wearing our ''sunday clothes'' out near the oven..
                  Seems like this stuff has more uses than originally anticipated!!!

                  BTW this was also one of the longest burning BBQ fires I have made too - even with the lid ON the webber!! Certainly different characteristics from the usual briquettes/wood types I usually make.
                  / Rossco

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                  • #10
                    Re: Reusing WFO Coals??

                    What you guys are basically doing is making your own lump-style charcoal by removing oxygen from a burning wood fire.
                    It is an excellent cooking fuel since it is almost pure carbon at that point and is able to generate higher heat than wood is capable of making alone. You have a valuable product, don't throw it out.

                    That "charcoal" you are raking out is perfect for grill work, or to get your next fire started by starting those coals in a "charcoal chimney", and placing your wood on top of them to get the wood fired.

                    Do a little google search on "How to make lump Charcoal" and you will then realize how valuable those coals are.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Reusing WFO Coals??

                      And on the subject of charcoal:

                      I don't remember just where I got this link but it was sometime ago and worthwhile if someone is interested in making charcoal (and worth repeating if it was from here).

                      Making Charcoal

                      It's on my list of fun "to build someday projects" and if someone only had access to poor or evil smelling wood perhaps converting it to charcoal would make it palatable for use in their WFO. Probably best not to try if one lives in a city. I really like how the design uses the off-gasses from the wood to fuel the fire.

                      Bests,
                      Wiley

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                      • #12
                        Re: Reusing WFO Coals??

                        Thanks for this info - I'll definitely check this process out.

                        I was amazed by the effectiveness of the coals on the BBQ so it's good to understand the "production phase" behind it.
                        / Rossco

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