Putting Out a Charcoal Grill – Do’s and Don’ts

Barbecues are one of the most enjoyable summer experiences you can have. You can’t beat the thrill of outdoor cookouts coupled with warm weather and great company

But after a delicious open air dining session filled with juicy burgers, grilled vegetables, and marinated meats, the grill close down can seem like an overwhelming task, especially when it comes to putting out a charcoal grill safely.

It’s critical to follow the proper steps to put out your charcoal grill to avoid hazardous disposals of hot coals resulting in flare-ups hours later. By adhering to the do’s of putting our charcoal grills, you can host a safe barbecue for family and friends. 


The Do’s

Start by understanding the right way to put out your charcoal. By following these guidelines, you’ll ensure your charcoal grill is put out safely and effectively, eliminating potential hazards

  • Close the lid and vents

As soon as you’ve finished grilling, be sure to close the lid and shut the top and bottom vents. This is because you want to stop any oxygen from getting to the charcoal since this encourages burning. By closing the lid and vents, you are suffocating the charcoal and remaining oxygen, preventing the fire from gaining momentum.

  • Leave for 48 hours

Unless you’re planning on grilling the following day, you should leave the lid and vents shut and wait 48 hours for the grill to cool. Waiting for the full duration of this period ensures there is no oxygen flow, and the charcoals are completely cold and stale.

  • Dispose of ash and charcoal

Following the 48 hour wait, you should return to your grill to shovel out and dispose of the ash and used charcoal. This process is more straightforward if you have an ash dump on your grill. However, it is not essential. 

When disposing of the charcoal, ensure you use a metal container, not plastic. This is because even after 48 hours, some of the coals may still be hot, creating the potential to set fire to items in your bin or even melt it. Moving used ashes can also re-introduce oxygen and reignite used charcoal. 

So, when disposing of the ash and charcoal, it’s advised you wrap it in foil before putting it into the metal container. This method will prevent any chances of reigniting the coals. 

  • Recycle

If you didn’t use most of the charcoal from your previous grill, you could recycle it. If there are lumps that look like they’ll be able to reignite, use some metal tongs and place them at the rear of your grill for next time. Or, if you want to be extra safe, use a fire-proof container to store them.

  • Clean out your grill properly

This is a step that many people avoid or perform half-heartedly. However, it’s an essential part of the process, especially if you want to maintain your grill’s efficiency. Leaving cold and used ash in the bottom of your grill can lead to problems such as clogged-up vents, which can compromise the cooling process of future charcoal. 

To ensure your grill is squeaky clean and can continue to properly cool down charcoals, use a brush to scrub off any dirt or residue on your grates and cooking compartment. You should also check the bottom and top vents to ensure they are clean.


The Don’ts

Once you understand the proper way to put out your charcoal grill, it’s time to pay attention to the don’ts. Avoiding these elementary mistakes will ensure that you put out your charcoal grill as safely as possible. 

  • Don’t pour water over the coals

Even though water is a fire’s nemesis, you should still avoid pouring it over your grill to put the charcoal out. This is because charcoal burns at high temperatures, so pouring water over the coals can lead to a thermal shock, ultimately cracking your grill. Cracks will not only provide your charcoal grill with an unpleasant aesthetic, but it can also compromise its function. 

After dousing hot charcoal with cold water, large steam clouds can erupt, dispersing hot ash with them. This level of steam combined with the ashes can cause severe burns. There is also the potential for coals that are still burning to be flushed from the grill’s bottom, causing burning hazards. 

A less dangerous complication is that pouring water over coals can create sludge and grime at the bottom of your grill. This mixture of liquids can then harden, leading to clogged-up vents and stuck dampers. All these elements can weaken your grill function and lead to an unpleasant cleaning job.

  • Don’t dispose of charcoal in plastic bins or general waste

Even after waiting 48 hours, you should still refrain from disposing of charcoal in your ordinary bin. You should also never throw away naked used charcoal in your general waste, as the slightest movement can cause these elements to reignite, therefore potentially setting waste vans alight.

Used coals should not be placed in a recycling bin or sprinkled around the garden because used charcoal has no nutritional benefit to the environment. It can also cause unnecessary damage to soil, plants, insects, and animals.

  • Don’t leave the lid or vents open after cooking

It’s imperative you don’t leave used charcoal and ash open to the elements in your grill, especially unsupervised. As long as the charcoal and ash are exposed to oxygen, they have the potential to stay alight and at a high temperature, even if they look cool and dormant. 


Stay Safe When Grilling 

Following the do’s and don’ts of putting out a charcoal grill can help keep you, your family, and your home safe this summer.

From ensuring all lids and vents are sealed to avoiding pouring water over the charcoal, you’ll be in good stead when it comes to ending your charcoal grilling session. By following these methods and avoiding the don’ts, you’ll be able to maintain your grill, cook safely, and enjoy your outdoor entertaining experience. These methods will become familiar in no time.