How to Put Out a Charcoal Grill | 5 Easy Steps (BBQ Tip)

Charcoal grilling is amazing art that spices up parties with tasty grilled and smoked meats. You may have done this several times during get-together events, family gatherings, campouts, and weekend times with families.

Barbecues are a fascinating experience, but the real work starts at the end of the party when you want to cool down the grill and clean it up.

For you to effectively cool off the charcoal grill, you need to apply techniques that will not only keep your children and pets safe from accidental fires but also save on your fuel.

The best time to start putting out your charcoal grill is immediately when the party winds down. This is to give you ample time to cool down the coals safely before it inflames any flammable objects around it.

This article outlines a step-by-step approach you can use to safely put out your charcoal grill.

Identify Tools for Putting out your Charcoal Grill

Identify-Tools-for-Putting-out-your-Charcoal-Grill
Photo credit: cnet.com

The first step in setting out to cool off your grill is identifying the equipment you’ll need to execute the process. This will help you get organized and save time while putting out your charcoal grill.

Below is a list of recommended tools you can use to help put out your charcoal grill.

You may be tempted to use water to quickly extinguish the burning coals, but this is not the safest method to use. The best technique for putting out a charcoal grill is cutting off its oxygen supply. You simply seal off the air vents on the grill by closing the lids.

The charcoal may take up to two days for it to completely cool down. The method may seem time-consuming but is the safest and most effective way of extinguishing the charcoal grill.

Shut Down the Grill

First, put on heat-resistant BBQ gloves to keep you safe from unnecessary burns while extinguishing the coals. Slowly take out the rack from the grill then put the lids and shut the vents at the top and bottom of the grill.

This will help cut off all oxygen so the fuel can effectively go out. It’s important to wait 48 hours for the coal to completely cool down. This is because sometimes, the coal appears to have gone out but in the real sense, it’s still burning hot. The extended waiting period also gives room for the heated grill to effectively cool down.

Take Out and Dispose of the Ashes and Briquettes

The next step is to scoop out the ashes and used charcoal. For this step, ensure you use metallic equipment. For instance, a metallic bucket, tongs, and aluminum foil. Avoid using plastic at all costs even if you’re sure the coal is fully extinguished.

Scoop and collect the ashes and briquettes deposited at the bottom in a metallic container. Use a large aluminum foil sheet to wrap up the ashes and briquettes, then place them in a metallic ash can. This will ensure no nearby inflammable objects catch fire from any live embers lurking within the ashes.

It’s essential you use tongs while carrying the ashes wrapped in the foil in case of any flaming embers that may cause serious burns.

Save any Left-over Charcoal for Future Use

While scraping out the ashes, you may find pieces of charcoal still lurking within the ashes. Collect them and place them at the bottom of the grill so you can reuse them the next time you light your charcoal grill. You can as well take them out one by one using metallic tongs. This is to guarantee your safety in case of burning coals.

If you find burning coals, remove them and place them in a separate metallic container to allow them to cool further. You can also add water to help them cool faster, though it’s not recommended.

Clean up Your Grill

After removing excess ash and briquettes, sweep the bottom of your grill using a wire brush or any small broom brush. Dispose of it using a metal grill spatula then thoroughly clean the grill chamber.

Be careful to keep the remaining ash from entering the vents which may cause clogging thus disrupt your next grill-off.

Next, clean the bottom of the grill using a wire brush, and be sure to pay particular attention to the grates.

Occasionally clean up the grill using soap and water, and use silicon spray to provide rust protection for the charcoal grill. This will lengthen the lifespan of your charcoal grill.

Quicker Alternatives to Put Out Your Charcoal Grill

You may want a faster method of putting out your grill. Perhaps you’d like to place it in a safe storage area after using it. You can simply cool the coals using water but the method you’ll use will require your patience as it is tedious.

You’ll need a pair of heat-resistant gloves, metallic grill tongs, a bucket of water, and a non-flammable surface.

As usual, cut off the supply of oxygen by sealing off the air vents.

Close the lid then wait for about an hour to allow the charcoal grill to cool down to a considerable temperature.

Take out the bucket full of water then start picking the coals using the grill tongs. Make sure you’re on your heat-proof gloves to protect your hands from the hot coals.  Pick the coals one at a time and dip in the water for about 30-60 seconds and place them on the non-flammable surface. Preferably aluminum foil or cookie sheet then leave them to dry.

Once dry you can put them back into your grill chamber (after cleaning it) or in a fire-proof container for reuse.

Another way to put out charcoal is by removing the coals from the grill and placing them in an open pit advisably away from a built-in charcoal grill. Sprinkle considerable amounts of water on the coal and do it in sections. Ensure even distribution of water even as you sprinkle it throughout the spread charcoal. This method is convenient if you’ve gone out camping.

Avoid Pouring Water Directly on the Burning Coal

Pouring water directly into your charcoal grill will not only damage your grill but will also create an ash-muddy mess inside your grill. This will make cleaning your grill more tedious and difficult.

Pouring water will make the inner surface of the grill chamber prone to cracks. This is because the water will cause a sudden change in temperature inside the grill leading to thermal shocks which result in cracks in the grill chamber.

The last thing you want to hear is that your charcoal grill is damaged beyond repair since that means an added cost in purchasing another one. Even if it can be repaired, you’ll still incur costs to fix it and it may never function as effectively as it was before the damage.

It’s Okay to Cover Your Grill Immediately After Using It

You may be wondering if it’s safe to put your grill cover on after shutting the air vents. Yes, it’s totally safe. In fact, it will aid in protecting the grill chamber from rust and adverse effects caused by varying weather conditions.

Final Thoughts

Having a good charcoal grill is definitely a wonderful experience if you enjoy making barbecues and flavored smoked meats.

However, maintaining it requires you to put in some effort but the fruits are rewarding.

It’s essential that you be patient when putting out your charcoal grill. Use any of the above-recommended procedures so that you can keep deriving maximum benefits from them.

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