How to Put Out a Charcoal Grill (Easily & Safely)

charcoal grill

Are you seeking a short instruction manual for putting out your charcoal grill?


Great! You’re in the ideal location.


How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill

You can put out a charcoal barbecue by simply putting out all the coals, throwing away the ash properly, and then cleaning the grill to put out any potential future fires.

You have two choices for putting out your burning coals. These are covered in detail below, along with comprehensive step-by-step instructions.


What Should You Know About Grills That Burn Charcoal?

When you’re done cooking with charcoal, there isn’t an off switch like there is with gas grills. 

The coals burn quite hot, and it might take them up to 48 hours to cool down completely, so they can be thrown away.

Although there are methods to quicken the procedure, you should still wait several hours before handling them.

Some individuals might believe it’s OK to let the coals burn out on their own without help, but doing so puts both people and pets in danger. In addition, it poses a fire risk if not dealt with.

Always remember to dispose of the ashes and coals in a noncombustible container!


To put out a charcoal grill, what do I need?


You must possess some level of handling expertise in order to effectively put out a blazing charcoal fire. You’ll need a few tools on hand to do this task properly. The following are the essentials:


Equipment that is advised:


  • Grill Brush

  • Heatproof gloves

  • Grill Tongs

  • Aluminum Foil

  • Metal Bucket of Water

  • Metal Scooper or Spoon

  • Baking soda


Quickly and Safely Putting Out a Charcoal Grill


There are two ways to extinguish your charcoal. Either you can do it slowly or you can do it rapidly. It’s a matter of preference; neither approach is superior to the other. You have two options: gently speed up the procedure to a 10- to 15-minute task, or take the safe route and wait 48 hours. 


I don’t want to wait days for the grill to cool down on its own, since I’m a “get it done right now” sort of person. The rapid method lets you skip Step 2, which further simplifies the process, as you’ll see when you read more below. Let’s get going:


Shut it Down


The first thing to do when getting ready to use your grill is to close the lid to put out the flames. Put the cover on the grill, seal any air holes, and wait until it is fully cool. That requires around 48 hours.

That is a long time to wait, if you’re anything like me.

Need to rapidly put out the charcoal? Try it out!

By taking the briquettes out of the grill, you can immediately cool down the grill.

Take the charcoal briquettes out one at a time and place them each into a metal bucket filled with cold water while wearing heatproof gloves and long tongs.

A spoon or metal scoop can be used to remove the ash, which should then be put into a different metal receptacle.

Pro Tip: Put your hot tongs on a non-flammable surface when you’re finished.


Remove Ashes and Briquettes


You can skip this step if you choose to extinguish your charcoal grill quickly using the above approach.


The burned-out briquettes and ashes can be removed once the grill has cooled down fully for 48 hours.

The ashes should be collected using an ash removal bucket. Toss them out by tipping them onto a large sheet of aluminum foil.

Put the sheet in a metal container or garbage can after properly wrapping it. Avoid using a plastic trash can or bin at all costs. Plastic is susceptible to melting or burning at the first indication of an ember.

No matter how chilly the briquettes appear to be, it is best to use a set of tongs to hold the wrapped aluminum as you move it from the grill to the container. We aim to lessen the chance that any flare-ups or flames will burn or harm you.

You may also use a pair of long-handled tongs to remove the briquettes and the ash without needing to wait for the briquettes to cool down first. To accommodate the ash and the briquettes separately in metallic containers is another crucial safety measure that must be taken.

The coals will keep burning in the metallic container and produce more ashes if they are still very hot. The best option in this situation is to take each one out individually and submerge it in a pail of water.

Avoid Water

I don’t want to stress this enough, but using a charcoal barbecue may be risky in any situation. I highly advise against drenching your BBQ with water while it is still hot in any way.

Even if it takes 48 hours, always hold off until it has totally cooled down. Dousing coals with water might result in cracks in your barbecue since coals burn at extremely high temperatures. Pouring water straight onto coals can also result in dangerous steam buildup and hot ash fallout, which can lead to painful burns.

Clean the Grill

You may sweep the remaining ashes from the grill once the larger mess has been removed. Prepare to scrub by grabbing a water bottle and your grill brush.

Although using soap is not required, it can be a good idea to do so if it has been a while since your grill was fully cleaned. With the grill brush removed, scrape the grate clean while squeezing any stuck-on food or debris loose with water as necessary.

Use the brush to scrub the grill’s remaining surface, being cautious to clean thoroughly around the vents because buildup might prevent proper airflow for the next time you’re cooking.

After cleaning the grill, if you used soap, give it a good rinse. You may now let it dry!

If you’ll be using the grill again soon, throw the rescued charcoal into the grill after it has dried. So they are prepared for when the grill is turned on again.

The grill is now ready to use after being closed and covered.

Return Leftover Briquettes

Put the cold briquettes back in the bottom half of your grill once they have totally cooled off so that we can use them again later on. Use some tongs, of course.


Can I Spray Water On My Charcoal Grill?

This query is frequently heard and seen in forums devoted to smoking and grilling.

Your initial reaction may be to wet the embers in the charcoal grill. While this is theoretically possible, it can also put your safety and the safety of your grill at risk. When water touches hot charcoal, steam can form, which could result in a burn. Even heated ash can be released into the air. Avoid doing this!

The thermal shock from the hot charcoal to the (relatively) cold water might harm your charcoal barbecue, depending on the model. That shock could result in cracking if you often use ceramic grills like the Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, or Primo XL.

Water splashing on charcoal that is burning may also make a large mess. All of that ash will effectively turn to mud on the grill’s bottom. Rust issues might also arise from any leftover excess moisture. Nobody wants the charcoal grill’s bottom to rust out.


Can a charcoal grill burn itself out?

When you’re done cooking on a charcoal barbecue, it will eventually extinguish itself. The charcoal will keep burning until it extinguishes on its own or you put it out.


How Much Time Does Charcoal Need to Burn Out?


The coals must totally cool on their own for up to 48 hours before they are suitable for removal from the grill. A fire and burn risk might be created by removing them earlier!


How do I put out charcoal for reuse?

It would be a pity and a waste to throw away all the leftover charcoal if you discovered that there was quite a bit after grilling. You can reuse the charcoal pretty easily to reduce this waste.

Prepare a large water jug and do this. To make sure the charcoal is completely doused in water, remove it from the grill and remove each piece. Allow each piece of charcoal to soak in the water for 30 to 60 seconds before removing it and setting it on a surface that won’t catch fire so it can dry.

Once they have dried, you may reuse them for your upcoming cook-off by storing them in a fire-resistant container.


When should I put my grill cover on after I’ve finished grilling?

Do it now! You may put your grill cover on once the vents and lid are both closed. Without a cover, leaving your grill outside for up to 48 hours exposes it to rust or damage.


Final Thought

I constantly emphasize grilling safety, and it’s especially important while working with hot charcoal briquettes.

Please wait a few minutes before covering your grill; it may continue to be hot for hours after you’ve finished cooking. More importantly, keep children away from the flames of the grill. Never try to extinguish your coals if they are still blazing.

Grill sensibly so you can do it again!


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