Cooking with charcoal is easy and fun as you can cook any recipe you want in it. It is, however, also important to know how to handle it and how to put out charcoal grills properly.
If you use charcoal for grilling, you get a nice finish on the food you are cooking.
You cannot find the same aromas and flavors that you get from using charcoal in other fuel types.
You can get some of the best charcoal grills in under 300 and that is what makes them the best, they are affordable and do the job pretty darn well!
While charcoal grills are simple and easy to operate, so much more goes into the process after you cook in these types of grills. It can be tricky and dangerous if not done right.
The process of extinguishing a charcoal grill seems easy but you will need to be extremely cautious. You are trying to avoid the hot charcoal briquettes and the hot grill as well.
You also need to keep in mind that the charcoal grill needs to be put out without damaging the grill structure. The tricky part goes as most will try to hurry the process.
So from allowing the charcoal grill to cool down, managing the air vents on the grill, disposing of the charcoal briquettes, and cleaning the grill, we will see how to put the charcoal grill the right way.
How To Put Out Charcoal Grill Safely
The best way to extinguish the charcoal on your grill is to ensure that the process is safe. Always put your safety first and make sure that the charcoal grill is safe from damage.
Before you go out and start grilling, make sure that you have all the tools that you need from cooking up to the cleaning process. I have some of the more common tools here for cleaning.
- Metal bucket or metal container
- Bucket of water
- Long Grill tongs
- Heat-proof gloves
- Metal spatula
- Aluminum foil
HOw to Put Out The Charcoal Grill with lid
The safest way to put out a charcoal grill is to use the air vents, or stop the air flow to the grill which would help to stop the combustion of the charcoal in the grill.
This is probably one of the safest ways in which one can put out the charcoal grill since it involves only closing the lid and cutting off the air supply in the grill.
Remove the grill/cooking grates of your charcoal grill to access the charcoal fire pit.
Close the grill lid slowly while the charcoal briquettes are still in the grill’s charcoal fire pit.
If the charcoal grill is simple, then all you need to do is just wait. Wait for a while till the grill is completely cold and this can take around 12-24 hours.
Sometimes it can take sooner than this depending on how big the grill is and how well the air vents are blocked.
So make sure that the air vents, both from the bottom and the grill lid, are closed.
This will cut off the oxygen supply to the charcoal briquettes.
While doing this make sure-
1. No one gets close to the charcoal grill since it can be hot
2. It is out of reach from pets and kids.
You can leave the charcoal grill unattended as it is the best way to extinguish the hot charcoals while also observing your safety.
It is quite hard to put out charcoal grills quickly as charcoals tend to stay hot for a very long time but this one is the safest way to put out the charcoal grill.
How to Put Out Charcoal grill without Lid
This is a whole other topic if your grill has no lid at all.
One common way could be just let all the charcoal to burn out naturally.
Once the complete combustion of all the charcoal happens, the charcoal grill has been put out naturally without the need to cut out air supply to it.
This is easier to do just make sure no one comes near the grill or touches the grill while the grill is cooling down.
Also, keep an eye on the charcoal as even a tiny spill on grass can blow up soon and cause a huge fire in your backyard.
This is the more preferred method in my opinion and this is where you would need the tools that we recommended earlier.
Make sure you wear your best BBQ gloves for this and use a pair of tongs while handling the burning charcoal.
Take out these charcoal pieces one by one and dunk it in a water for about 60 seconds making sure that the fire is out and then place them on top of an aluminium foil or a heavy duty metal bucket.
Stay safe since there will be a lot of steam generated when you dunk the pieces in water so do not place your face on top of the bucket.
You can initially just stay some water on the charcoal pieces to cool them down a bit and then do this.
You HAVE TO MAKE SURE that you use aluminium foil or a heavy duty metal bucket since some charcoal pieces can still be dormant even after dunking them in water and can cause fires.
Now, you can leave the charcoal pieces wrapped in aluminium foil for a couple of hours to make sure each and every piece has cooled down completely and then maybe you can air dry the pieces that are still reusable for next use.
You do not have to air dry the pieces, that is optional and you can throw it away too but this does work!
Can I pour water on my charcoal grill?
No. I definitely do not recommend pouring water onto a charcoal grill because the grill is hot and pouring water causes a sudden temperature change which can damage the grill long term.
I do realise there are posts online like on Kingsford where they recommend doing this but I would just not do it since it can cause way more harm.
How to cool down Charcoal briquettes
After 48 hours of leaving the grill unattended, check if there are still glowing embers in the charcoal fire pit.
It is less likely that there will still be embers but keep your heat-proof gloves on.
The next step is to remove the charcoal briquettes and ashes from the charcoal fire pit.
Use a pair of long tongs and then scoop out the charcoal briquettes onto a large sheet of aluminum foil.
There might still be some charcoal briquettes left that can be used for your next cookout, so save them.
If there are still some hot coals in the firebox, make sure to put them out with the bucket of water.
Even the smallest ember can cause fire hazards, and it can melt plastic containers and plastic bags easily so make sure that all the lump charcoals are extinguished with a fire extinguisher or with water.
Grab each hot coal and then put them in the bucket of water.
This is one way to put out your charcoal grill quickly, but it is not the safest way to do it so as much as possible, avoid it.
How To Put Out Charcoal Grill With Water
If you went out of the house with your charcoal grill to cook, it is best to extinguish the fire quickly to bring the charcoal grill home with you once you are done cooking.
There are different methods of putting out a charcoal grill without a lid.
See, using the lid to put out the fire and closing the air vents takes a very long time which, you might not have.
So in this case, you can put out a charcoal grill with water.
This is easy but putting out lump charcoal still hot in water can produce carbon dioxide and create clouds of hot steam.
Steam burns can be a risk here, so make sure your heat-proof gloves are on.
As much as possible avoid putting out charcoal grills with water as this different method is not safe at all.
There might be instances where you went out to the park and you want to know how to put out a charcoal grill at the park quickly so you can go home, then you can resort to using water.
However, one thing you should avoid is to directly spray water or pour water into the grill.
Putting out an open charcoal grill can be unsafe if you use water to produce steam that will release hot ashes.
If you do not have any choice but to put out a charcoal grill without a lid at the park or outside, make sure to bring a bucket of water with you.
Put out your open charcoal grill by removing the grill grate using your heat-proof gloves or with long tongs.
Grab each lump charcoal and then dip them in the bucket of water.
Make sure to avoid the carbon dioxide and steam that is released by using the long tongs with you.
Allow each charcoal to submerge in the bucket of water for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
After 1 minute, there should be no possibility of dormant embers on any of the hot coals so you can then pack them in a fireproof container so you do not leave any waste around.
How to reuse Charcoal Briquettes?
After the hot coals have cooled down, place them in a large aluminum foil and wrap them carefully. Place them in a metal bucket and then dispose of them.
Allow the grill to cool down, this will be quick since the hot coals are out of the charcoal fire pit.
If you have a lot of charcoal left, you can bring them home and sun-dry them for your next use.
Remove the remaining ash from the charcoal grill and then pack it up once completely cooled down.
It is never a good idea to pour water directly into the grill’s firebox as it can cause severe burns.
This can also damage your charcoal grill by creating cracks that will develop to break later on.
Thermal shock is especially common with charcoal grills made with stone or ceramic.
Check the grill for the last time if it has cooled down and then refill for your next grilling session.
You can either use fresh coals or save the remaining charcoal from the cookout so you can use them when cooking your best-tasting food with the best results.
Charcoal grilling can be fun, but it is also your responsibility to ensure that you do not cause any fire hazards.
Do not use too much fuel so you can put the grill out the with the quickest and safest way.
Also, use paper instead of using lighter fluid when lighting your charcoal grill so you do not create harmful clouds of steam and you just have to deal with white ashes later on.
You can check out my other post if you want to know how to safely light up your charcoal grill without the help of lighter fluid.
The only issue is that it is not the most budget-friendly device.