How to Put Out a Charcoal Grill: BBQ Tips

The beauty that comes with charcoal grilling can sometimes come to an end when you have to put out the fire after a busy day of setting up flavourful dishes. For you to do it properly, you have to avoid any shortcuts, and by that you know I’m talking about water. At the same time, putting the charcoal grill out doesn’t mean ensuring that there’s no more heat; it also involves cleaning it afterwards.

Charcoal Grill

At this point, you’ll probably realize how messy spraying or soaking up hot coal with water can be, and this is just one of the reasons why you should avoid the temptation that comes with it. It may seem like the quickest way out but with the speed also comes greater repercussions.

With that in mind, you probably want to know how to put out a charcoal grill in the best possible way. We will help break it down for you.

Tips on how to put out a charcoal grill

Shut it down

First, you have to invest in heatproof oven mitts to prevent the excess grill temperatures from reaching you. With this on, you’ll be safe to remove the grilling rack and thereafter close the lid and any other vents that act as oxygen avenues. By preventing further airflow into the chamber, you minimize the chances of fuelling the fire thereby speeding up the process of cooling the charcoal.

One thing to take home is that for the charcoal or whatever alternative fuel you’re using to completely cool; it might take up to 48 hours. This is the only best way that you can be sure that every single piece has stopped burning and that you can now handle it with ease.

Remove ashes and briquettes

You can now get a full picture of how important it is to give the grill that much time to cool off. When you try to do everything in a rush, you might end up with serious burns when it’s time to empty the charcoal grill. To make your work effortless, it’s recommended that you scoop the ashes with the help of an ash-removal bucket. You should avoid using your hands directly because there might be existence of harmful objects or residues in there.

For safe and easy disposing, be sure to use an aluminium foil before throwing them in the trash can. If you have no foil around you at the moment, you can still use any material for the same, provided that it’s not plastic; and so should your garbage can. The main reason here is that plastic is highly susceptible to fire, even the tiniest of them all.

Clean the grill

In our previous article on how to clean a charcoal grill, I hinted that the best way to clean your grill is immediately after you’re done grilling. Keeping a greasy and messy grill will make cleaning strenuous once additional layers of dirt accumulate on the same. To ensure that all the ash is removed, use a trowel or spatula to sweep off the chamber, paying attention to the vents.

Thereafter, you can thoroughly clean the entire grill to your perfection, using water and dishwashing detergent. What I failed to mention is that apart from oiling the cooking grates to prevent rust, it’s also safer to use silicon spray to lubricate the parts of the grill which are open to rust. This positively impacts on how durable the grill will be.

Return the leftover briquettes

You may have asked yourself how best you can store the briquettes left over from the previous grill. When not properly stored, they might give you hard times when firing up the grill next time. This is because they can easily become moist, and this is another reason why I don’t encourage using water to cool them down, especially if you have plans of using them any sooner. The best cool and dry place you can trust is at the bottom layer of your grill. Here, you’re also unlikely to misplace them, helping you save on fuel. So don’t dispose these leftovers at any particular time.

Do not use water

To drive this point home, let me paint the picture why you shouldn’t use water anywhere on your grill, unless you’re cleaning it. When you pour or spray water directly on a hot charcoal grill, the chances are that there will be steam levels created that will in return disperse the already hot ash from the burning charcoal. In the event that this reaches any part of your body, you’ll clearly suffer from severe burns.

Apart from that, when still hot, the grill can easily crack when it meets with hot water on its layers. When you do this repeatedly, it reduces how durable the grill is and it’s unfortunate that it may not last long.  Many often think that alternatively immersing the hot charcoal in water is safer but there will still be steams formed with that too. Pouring water on the grill with ashes still in the chamber also creates a mess which could lead to stubborn stains, making cleaning difficult.


We hope that you have now learned how to put out a charcoal grill in some of the most effective ways available. Just like cleaning, we recommend that you put out your charcoal grill as soon as you’re done, especially if you have pets and children around. This minimizes chances of any accidents that may result from it flaring up and also saves on fuel, which you can re-use afterwards.  

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