While grilling on a charcoal grill can provide that distinct “grilled” flavor, they can be a little more difficult to use than the traditional gas grills that most people are used to. Charcoal grills don’t use propane that can just be turned on and off easily. Charcoal grills work by burning charcoal briquettes that cook the food. However, these charcoals can not just be turned off like a propane tank. There a few different methods to putting out a charcoal grill after you are done grilling.
The easiest way to put out a charcoal grill is to shut the lid on your grill and let them cool for at least 48 hours.
This method can take a while and you might not have that much that time. In addition to letting them cool down for 48 hours, I’ll go over some other methods you can use for cooling down your charcoal.
Let the Charcoal Cool Down
Allowing the charcoal time to fully cool down after grilling is probably the safest way to put out charcoal. It is also the most time consuming. To allow the charcoal to fully cool down you will want to put the lid on the grill and shut the vents for at least 48 hours. By then all the ash and charcoal should be fully cooled down and safe to handle. Shutting the lid and vents will cut off all oxygen to the charcoals, suffocating the fire. This will definitely extinguish the fire but the time it takes for them to fully cool down will depend on how much charcoal was used.
If you have the time, shutting the lid and letting the charcoal cool down is the preferable method to put out a charcoal grill. Just make sure that you give them enough time to cool down. You never want to handle or dispose charcoals that are still hot.
Speed it up With Water
If you don’t have time to wait a couple of days, you can speed up the process using water. Before closing the lid to suffocate the fire, you douse the charcoal in water. Don’t go light with the water either, make sure to really drown the charcoal. Using water will eliminate the possibility of ember being igniting again.
If you are going to use to speed up the process, don’t do it immediately after grilling. Right after grilling, the charcoals are going to be at their hottest and pouring a lot of water over them could be potentially dangerous. Giving them at least a little bit of time cool down and suffocating will be much safer.
You also should be aware that using water will create a lot of smoke. Make sure to spray standing away from the grill so you don’t inhale all the smoke. One thing you can do to make sure you drowned all the charcoal in water is to stir them around a little. Sometimes a charcoal at the bottom could be missed, causing an ember to reignite.
Empty Out the Charcoal
Once your grill, the charcoal and ash has completely cooled down, it is time to dispose of it all. You can dispose of it just like normal trash in an outdoor trash receptacle. To make things easier, wrap it all in aluminum foil before throwing it out. This will keep everything in one place and keep you from spilling ash all over the place. Trust me, you do not want to have to clean up ash from your yard.
After your grill has been emptied out, don’t forget to give it a light cleaning so it is ready to go for next time. I would recommend cleaning your grill after each use. This will make it easier for you next time you grill because you will be grilling on a clean surface each time. It will also extend the life of your grill because you’ll be maintaining it.
In my post How to Maintain Your Grill – The Ultimate Guide, I went over in detail everything you need to do to care for your charcoal grill.
While you’re emptying the bowl, you will also want to scrape off any buildup. Use steel wool or an abrasive pad to get rid of all the buildup and then wipe it with soapy water. You should also clean the lid too. When grilling, moisture and grease tend to collect on the inside of the lid. The grease can peel and fall into your food, and no one wants that. To clean the lid you should do the same thing you did with the bowl. Scrape off any buildup and then rinse with soapy water.“How to Maintain Your Grill – The Ultimate Guide”
Consider using Reusing Lightly Used Charcoal
Before drowning the charcoal in water or throwing them out, consider how much they were used. If the charcoals were just lightly used, feel free to reuse them. To reuse the charcoal, lightly spray them with water to stop the burning them for burning. Emphasis on the lightly. If you drown them like you would normally, you probably won’t be able to use them again.
Once they have been sprayed with water and put out, wait until the coals are dried completely. Once they have completely dried, they are good to be used again. I would reuse the charcoal whenever possible because it will cut down on waste and expenses if you find yourself using your grill a lot.
I hope you found these tips on how to put out your charcoal grill helpful. For more tips on grilling, be sure to check out our grilling section!