Grilling with charcoal is always an amazing experience, and this kind of grilling infuses the food with an intense smoky taste. Using charcoal grill and accessories requires a bit of finesse and grilling itself is a culinary art.
Most beginners get the hang of lighting a charcoal fire pretty easily. The process of grilling meat isn’t overly complicated either. But what about putting out a charcoal grill? Many guides gloss over this part of grilling, so grill amateurs aren’t sure how to put out charcoal grills.
However, knowing how to handle a grill after you are done using it is extremely important. You should extinguish your embers/charcoal as soon as possible as this saves fuel and also prevents accidents from flare-ups.
Also, if you have small children or pets, it is important to put out your grill right away. If you fumble around with your grill once the BBQ is winding down, you can be risking a fire hazard.
This article will change that. If you just got a BBQ charcoal grill, and you aren’t sure how to deal with the aftermath, keep reading. We cover everything; from putting out your charcoal grill to cleaning up the ash and debris.
How to Put Out a Charcoal Grill
The easiest way to turn off your grill is to close all the vents, cutting off the oxygen supply to the burning coals. This method is a little slower, and it can take up to 2 days to let the coals cool down completely.
Putting out the grill with water is a little risky, but much faster. To completely put out charcoal, you need a bit of expertise in handling them. We’ll walk you through extinguishing barbecue grill charcoal.
What You Need:
- Heat-proof gloves
- Metal spatula
- Sturdy grill tongs
- Aluminum foil
- Wire brush
- Fire extinguisher
- Baking soda
Putting Out the Grill:
- Start by putting on heat proof oven mitts or BBQ gloves and make sure that they are heat resistant so that the heat from the grill won’t burn you.
- Take the rack off your grill and carefully close the lid. If your grill has vents then make sure that they are closed all the way to cut off the oxygen supply.
- Charcoal for the grill can always take a very long time to cool down, and it can be difficult to tell whether they’re still burning or not.
Because of this, it is best to leave the coals to cool down for around 48 hours, just to make sure that they are completely cool.
After this time has passed, and the contents of the grill have cooled down, you can start cleaning up the ash and remnants of the burnt charcoal.
- Use something like an ash removal bucket to safely scoop up the ashes. Pour them onto a large sheet of aluminum foil before disposing of them, as this prevents the ash from spilling and making a mess.
- Carefully fold up the foil, sealing the ashes inside securely. Dispose of the foil and ashes in a large metal basket or trash can. Avoid using plastic, as any remaining embers can burn it.
- When handling the ash and aluminum, wear gloves and use tongs. Even though the ash is mostly cold, it is safer to make sure any sparks or glowing embers won’t burn you.
- However, you don’t always have to wait for the charcoal briquettes to cool down completely. You can still remove them with the ash while they are still warm using a pair of sturdy tongs.
However, in doing so, you need to use separate metal trash cans or containers; one for the ash and one for the charcoal.
- If the coals are still very hot, this means that they will keep burning in the metallic container and create more ashes. To extinguish them completely, use tongs to dip the burning coal into a large container or bucket of water.
- Do not spray or pour water onto the hot grill or charcoals. This can create flare-ups, and you can be injured by the jets of steam. The steam can also scatter the hot ash which can result in serious burns.
- Furthermore, coals burn at very high temperatures, and spritzing them with water can result in a cracked grill.
- Always wait until the ash and coals have completely cooled down, even if it takes two whole days, to stay on the safe side.
Cleaning the Grill:
- Use a metal grill spatula or a trowel to brush off the remaining ash from the grill.
- Then, thoroughly clean out the chamber containing ash. Pay particular attention to the vents, as stray bits of ash can end up there, blocking the vents when you next use your grill.
- Use a wire brush and grill cleaner to thoroughly clean the grates and lower section of the grill. You can also clean the grates using just soap and water.
- After the grates are clean and dry, spray some silicone to lubricate them. The spray acts as an anti-rusting agent and improves the lifespan of your grill grates in the long run.
After they have completely cooled down, use a pair of tongs to place the cold charcoal briquettes back in the bottom half of your grill so that you can use them the next time you fire up your grill.
Tips for Shutting Down Your Grill
After cooking on a charcoal grill, you need to put out the embers right away. These tips will help you extinguish your grill safely and quickly.
- Don’t ever put hot charcoal in plastic bins or garbage bags, as this can burn up and even start a fire if there is an ember.
- Don’t move the grates around before they have completely cooled down.
- Locate the vents on top and bottom of the grill and close them. This will gradually put out the burning coals.
- Always keep a bucket of water nearby to douse any hot smoldering charcoal briquettes. Keeping a fire extinguisher in the immediate vicinity is also a good idea.
- Even if you think the charcoal grill is not hot enough to cause burns, use gloves and tongs anyways. Even after 48 hours, some ash or remaining charcoal can still be very hot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below you’ll find answers to questions we get asked the most about putting out charcoal grills.
01. What Do I Do with Charcoal after Grilling?
After you are done with putting out the grill and cleaning the ash, you can reuse partially burnt coals the next time. After putting them out with water and allowing them to cool, let them dry completely before putting them back in the grill.
02. How Should I Put Out a Grill Fire?
To put out a grill fire, close all the vents to cut off the fire’s oxygen supply. This will slowly choke out the fire and eventually put it out.
03. Can You Reuse Charcoal?
After the charcoal is used or partially burned, it can be lit again after it has cooled and dried.
04. How Long Does Charcoal Burn for?
Lump charcoal generally burns for 4-6 hours, while briquettes will give you a good 8-10 hours. However, every BBQ grill is different and these burn times are dependent on the grill, and the airflow of the vents. If the vents are completely open, they will burn more intensely.
05. At What Temperature Does Charcoal Burn?
Charcoal burns at extremely hot temperatures. Charcoal burns at temperatures over 1,100 degrees Celsius (2,010 degrees Fahrenheit). This makes it even more vital to be careful around burning charcoal.
06. How Do I Get Rid of Charcoal Ash?
Let the ashes fully cool down or pour plenty of water onto them and stir thoroughly to speed up the process. Once the ashes have cooled completely, use a trowel to remove them from the grill.
Wrap them in aluminum foil or put them in a small metal container, like a coffee can. Then dispose of the ashes in an outdoor or metal garbage bin.
The best way to enjoy a BBQ is to use the grill properly and safely. Once you know how to put out a charcoal grill, you will be able to put a wrap on your cookout safely and quickly.
The key to handling a hot grill is patience; just shut off the vents and let science do the rest! Give the grill, charcoal, and ash time to cool off so you can handle them more safely.
What do you think? Are you going to follow this method after your next BBQ?