How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill (Guide & Tips In Detail)

If you have ever wondered about how to put out a charcoal grill, read on and find out everything you need to know now.

Grilling is one of the most popular food preparation methods. It not only brings a lot of fun but also produces an excellent taste. Nothing compares to dishes cooked over a charcoal grill. They have a smoky and delicious flavor that wins the hearts of millions. 

Yet, once you’ve finished cooking, you must ensure that the hot charcoal is correctly handled for later use. Damage to your grill, flames and steam burns can all result from improperly extinguishing a charcoal barbecue. 

Read on to learn how to put out a charcoal grill properly and further tips to prevent unexpected consequences.

Why Do You Have To Put Out A Charcoal Grill?

Finishing grilling your food does not mean that you have done with the grill. There are still lit chunks of charcoal in there, so don’t rush. Unless you manually extinguish the charcoal, it will continue to burn until it is totally gone.


Charcoal grills do not have a simple on/off switch; thus, they can stay blazing for hours, squandering fuel and posing a concern owing to their heat. The smoldering air produces carbon monoxide, which will pollute your living environment and be dangerous for your children, older people, and pets.

Thus, when having a heat source around your house, you must always protect yourself and your family from fire hazards. A burn from a hot grill can be excruciating. What if an animal collides with it and knocks it over, scattering hot coals all over the place? A few hot embers on the grass or wood decking might quickly become a significant fire hazard.

Hence, for safety reasons, you have to put out a charcoal grill after you are done with grilling.

So, when you’re ready to turn it off, how do you deal with the still-burning coals?

How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill (Step-by-step Guide)

There are various stages to extinguish a charcoal barbecue properly, and the practice may be a little more complicated than you anticipated. This is not a quick or straightforward procedure. 

Nonetheless, it is critical to be as safe as possible; hence following the appropriate steps is vital. Here’s how to correctly put out a charcoal grill:

Preparation & Protection

To protect yourself when working with the charcoal barbecue, put on heat-resistant oven mitts. This is a crucial step that must not be skipped. Charcoal is extremely hot, and any ashes or embers that fly off during the process might burn you or start a fire nearby.

Main process 

Remove the grill rack and set it aside. Put the lid back on. Make sure the vents on the lid are closed as well. This ensures that no oxygen enters the grill, which could cause the embers to continue to burn.


For at least 48 hours, keep the cover on the grill and the vents closed. This may appear to be a long period, but charcoal, believe it or not, can burn for this long. Because there’s a danger it’ll re-ignite, it’s critical to leave it alone long enough to ensure the fire is entirely extinguished. 

Finishing off

Remove the ashes and briquettes once a minimum of 48 hours has passed and you are assured everything is cool. You can use your own way, but the easiest option is to sweep up the ashes using a metal bucket. Plastic should not be used since some embers may still be blazing, causing the plastic to melt. 

Dump them out slowly onto a huge sheet of aluminum foil on the ground. Fold the foil to keep the ashes confined once all of the ashes have been removed. Toss the foil into a metal rubbish container with tongs. If any embers remain, they can burn or melt a plastic garbage can, so be careful. 

Using tongs, replace any cold briquettes to the grill after it has been thoroughly cleaned. 

Bonus Tips

A lid is included with most, if not all, charcoal barbecues. If you don’t already have one, we recommend getting one to ensure you’re as safe as possible.

Using a lid is very efficient since it cuts off the charcoal’s air supply, preventing the flame from burning. Keep in mind that even after the grill has been turned off, the briquettes might continue to burn for up to 48 hours. While waiting this long to deal with the briquettes may seem excessive, it is the safest way. 

If you need a visual guide, here is a video on how to put out a charcoal grill:

How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill Without A Lid?

If your charcoal barbecue does not have a lid, proceed with caution. There is no way to prevent oxygen from reaching the burning charcoal because there is no lid. Therefore it will continue to burn until it is extinguished or relocated to another container.

Also, remember that dumping water on the embers could shatter the grill’s surface or release significant amounts of dangerously hot steam into the air. If desired, lightly spray the surface of the charcoal with water, although this will have little effect because the briquettes’ bottoms will remain just as hot. 

Here’s how to put out a charcoal barbecue that doesn’t have a lid: 


Put on heat-resistant oven mitts to keep yourself safe during the cooking procedure. This is critical because you will be working with the charcoal up close and personal, and you must ensure that you are protected. 

Main process

  • Remove the grill rack and set it aside. 
  • Remove the briquettes from the bottom of the grill one at a time with a set of long-handled tongs. After that, you have two choices. One option is to place the hot briquettes in a lidded metal container. 
  • Close the lid to cut off the oxygen flow when they’ve all been shifted, and wait 48 hours before wrapping the ashes in foil and throwing them in a metal garbage can.
  • The other approach is to stop each briquette from burning by dipping it in a pail of water, then discarding it into a metal bucket. Wait 48 hours, wrap in foil, then toss into a metal rubbish can once again.

Useful Notes

While using and extinguishing a grill without a lid is possible, it’s not recommended. In fact, many people who have cooked on a charcoal grill would argue that a lid is necessary. It aids in temperature control and might enhance the flavor of your dish. 

The main issue is that utilizing this approach to extinguish a charcoal barbecue is not as safe as using a cover. You’re moving highly hot charcoal one piece at a time using tongs. There’s a big chance one could fall, or an ember may break free and ignite a fire in your yard. 

If you don’t have a cover for your charcoal grill, most manufacturers sell replacement parts. Hence, you should get it for your safety and your best interest.


Can I pour water on my charcoal grill?

Intuitively, people would try to put out the fire with water. However, water does not work in this case. You cannot pour water on the smoldering charcoal. This could shatter and damage the inside of your grill, as well as release a considerable amount of hot steam into the air, potentially burning you or your guests.

Thus, another reason is that it leaves a slimy mess at the bottom of your grill. If the substance hardens, you’ll have clogged vents, stuck dampers, and a large clean-up chore on your hands. Cleaning a charcoal grill is difficult enough without adding to the difficulty!

How long will charcoal stay hot?

Before burning out, a charcoal barbecue can stay hot for up to an hour. This varies depending on how hot it was initially (such as whether it was at high heat or medium heat levels). On the other hand, your charcoal grill can stay at peak temperatures for hours if you do your job correctly and keep feeding the fire. Just keep in mind that the charcoal will shortly burn out.


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