How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill (3 Easy Steps)

Are you looking for a quick guide for putting out your charcoal grill? 

Great! You’re in the right spot.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • Why you need to make sure all the coals are out
  • Supplies you’ll need
  • How to put out your charcoal grill
  • And much more!

How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill?

Your charcoal grill can be put out simply by extinguishing all of the coals, safely disposing of the ash, and then cleaning your grill to prevent any additional fire.

There are two options for extinguishing your burned coals. Those are explained and full step-by-step instructions are available down below.

Read More >> Best Charcoal Grills (Buying Guide)

What You Need to Know About Charcoal Grills?

Unlike gas grills, there isn’t an off switch you can turn when you’re done grilling with charcoal.

The coals burn extremely hot and can take up to 48 hours to completely cool so they can be disposed of.

There are options to speed the process up, but they should still be left to sit for several hours before you handle them.

Some people may think it’s okay to just let the coals burn out without assistance, but this leaves a dangerous situation for pets and people. It’s also a fire hazard if left unattended!

Related >> How to Put Out a Grill Fire + Grill Fire Prevention Tips

Remember to always throw the coals and ashes away in a noncombustible bin!

Read More >> Best Lump Charcoal For Smoking

Supplies You’ll Need?

Depending on how you choose to put the charcoal grill out, you may need the following:

Read More >> How To Remove Rust From Cast Iron Grates (5 Step Guide)
How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill Facts

Putting Out a Charcoal Grill – Quickly And Safely

(You can click any of the links below to jump ahead to that step.)

  1. Shut it down
  2. Dispose of ashes and charcoal
  3. Clean the grill

There are two methods of putting your charcoal out. You can either be patient or you can do it quickly. One way is not better than the other, it’s a matter of preference. You can play it safe and wait 48 hours, or you can very carefully speed up the process to a 10-15 minute job. For me, I’m a “get it done right now” kind of guy, so I don’t want to wait days for the grill to cool on its own. As you read more below, you’ll see that the quick way allows you to skip Step 2, which makes this even more simple. Let’s get started: 

Step 1: Shut it Down

When you’re ready to put your grill out, the first step is to close the lid, so it smothers the flames.

Close any ventilation ports in the lid and put it on the grill, allowing it to sit until it’s completely cool. That takes about 48 hours.

If you’re like me, that’s a long time to wait.

Need to extinguish the charcoal quickly? Try this!

You can cool your grill down quickly by removing the briquettes from the grill.

Using heatproof gloves and long tongs, take the charcoal briquettes out one by one and drop them into a metal bucket of cold water.

Related >> Charcoal Briquettes vs Lump Charcoal

The ash can be scooped out using a spoon or metal scoop and placed into a separate metal container.

Pro Tip >> When you’re done, put your hot tongs on a non-flammable surface.

Step 2: Dispose of Ashes and Charcoal

If you opted for the quick method of putting out your charcoal grill listed above, you can skip this step.

Once the 48 hours are up (if you didn’t use the water method), you can safely remove the ashes and briquettes of charcoal to dispose of them.

Get a large piece of aluminum foil ready before removing the ashes and charcoal. Carefully scoop the ash out with a metal scoop and place it in the foil.

If there are any briquettes that can be salvaged and used later, set them aside for now.

Once you have the grill free of charcoal and ash, wrap the foil up tightly and dispose of it in a metal container.

Avoid plastic containers since even the smallest hint of an ember can cause them to melt and cause problems.

Related>> Best Portable Charcoal Grills for Your Next Outdoor Adventure

Step 3: Clean the Grill

Once the grill is cleaned out of the bigger mess, you can sweep the remnants of ashes out of the grill.

Grab your grill brush and some water and get ready to scrub.

Soap is optional, but if it has been a while since your grill was thoroughly cleaned, you may want to grab some.

Remove the grate and scrape it off with the grill brush, using water as needed to loosen up stuck-on food and debris.

Scrub the rest of the grill with the brush, taking care to clean around the vents carefully since build-up can obstruct ventilation during the next grilling session.

If you used soap to clean the grill, rinse it thoroughly once it’s cleaned. Now you can let it dry!

Once the grill is dry, toss the salvaged charcoal into the grill (if you’ll be using it again soon!) so they’re ready for the next time the grill is fired up.

Close the grill and put the cover on and it’s ready to go!

Related: Can You Add Charcoal While Grilling?

Can I Pour Water On My Charcoal Grill?

If you pour water on a hot charcoal grill, it can damage the grill and be dangerous to you. Poured water can cause cracks and holes in the metal of your grill. It also leaves a mess of sludge to clean up from the bottom of your grill, making the process even longer.

Pouring water onto a hot grill creates a cloud of steam that can cause burns. Additionally, it can also send ashes flying out of the grill if you pour water quickly.

Simply put, it is not advisable to pour water directly onto a hot grill.

Does A Charcoal Grill Go Out By Itself?

After some time, your charcoal grill will go out by itself when you’re done grilling. The charcoal will continue to burn until it goes out by itself or until you extinguish it.

How Long Does It Take For Charcoal To Burn Out?

It can take up to 48 hours for the coals to completely cool on their own so they are safe to remove from the grill. Removing them sooner could pose a fire and burn hazard!

Final Thoughts On Grilling Safety

I always stress grilling safety, and when you’re dealing with hot charcoal briquettes, it’s even more crucial.

If you do have an accident and burn yourself, here are some steps you can follow (if you need immediate care, please call 911).

Your grill can stay hot for hours after you’re done cooking, so please don’t put your cover on it right away. More importantly, remember to keep kids away from the hot grill

Please never attempt to put your coals out if they’re still burning.

Grill safely so you can grill again!

Learn More About Grilling

If you want to learn more about grilling, check out these other helpful resources and related posts!

Photo of author

Shawn Hill

Hey, I'm Shawn and I love this site. With a wife and 7 kids, I get most of my grilling practice from feeding my own family. I'm here to help you learn more about grilling, smoking, and backyard BBQ! With almost a decade of manning the grill and helping over 25,000 aspiring grill masters, you're in great hands! I've tried just about every type of grill, accessory, and gadget you can imagine. Because of that, I am here to help guide you to the best of the best and help you save time and money by avoiding the junk.

1 thought on “How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill (3 Easy Steps)”

  1. I have Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker. To put the fire out on it, I insert 2 steel blockers in the side, they cut off the oxygen , fire goes out, KISS


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