How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill (Guide for All Types)

A charcoal grill is one of my favorite grills, as it infuses more flavor into your food than the pellet grills. The charcoal fire gives you more juicer, tendered, and succulent meat, which is impossible to get with any other type of grill.

It provides high heat and helps you cook your food quickly, but extinguishing a charcoal grill can be a back-breaking task. Do you love to devour the mouth-watering charcoal-grilled food but don’t know how to put out a charcoal grill? Here I have all the information you will ever need to get the job done.

Despite the appetizing and flavorsome food it offers, if you don’t know how to put out the grill, an unfortunate accident can make you regret your decision. Because of the ash covering the coal, it can be elusive to predict if the coals have cooled down completely or not.

So, you cannot leave the coal in the grill as it can cause a severe mishap. The coal might seem to cool down but can flare up later, becoming a potential risk for you shortly. Scroll down to find out the do’s and don’ts that one must know regarding how to stop a charcoal grill?

How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill?

You might be wondering what is so special about how to extinguish a charcoal grill? It would be best to put out the charcoal fire properly as it can affect your future safety, charcoal cost, and the longevity of your charcoal grill. You can put out the fire through various methods, but the methods you are using must be correct, or it will damage your grill. Keep reading to find out the step-by-step guide to cool down a charcoal grill?

How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill That Has A Lid?

There are various models of the charcoal grill, but the two main distinctions are the ones with and without a lid. It is much easier to turn off the fire on a charcoal grill with a lid, but this doesn’t mean you can do it as you like.

There are numerous ways to extinguish the charcoal fire, but the ones that don’t damage your grill and help you save the charcoal for the future are the best. Let’s sink into the detailed steps of putting out a charcoal grill with a lid.

1. How To Turn Off The Charcoal Grill?

Unlike the electric grill, you don’t have an on and off switch in the charcoal grills. So, you cannot put out the fire that easily as in the electric grills. How to put out coals? You have to wait for the coal to cool down.

It requires a lot of patience, but you cannot put water on the coals to put out the fire. It can reduce your grill’s life span and lower its performance. You have to wait for the coal to burn out and cool down eventually.

what to do with charcoal after grilling

2. What Supplies Are needed?

You can’t just get up and do it right away. Dealing with fire can be dangerous, so one needs to be careful while dealing with it. You have to take some safety measures. You will need some tools to make the whole process much safer and hassle-free. So, before starting the whole procedure, you need to get a hold of these tools. Here are some of the supplies that you will need to put out the fire of a charcoal grill.

  • Metallic spade
  • Grill brush
  • Metal bucket or bin with a lid
  • High heat resistant gloves
  • Grill tongs
  • Bucket of cold water
  • Aluminum foil
how to extinguish charcoal grill

3. How To Starve The Charcoal Of Oxygen?

After you have torn down the fire, it doesn’t mean that your work is finished here. Believe me. You have just started. You have to put down the lid of your charcoal grill so the fire cools down easily. The main purpose of doing this is to cut down the oxygen level. The charcoal produces high heat even if there is a low oxygen level, so it will take time to cool down.

You have to suffocate the coal of oxygen, so close the vents for smoke in the grill. Don’t forget to close any other outlet to expel smoke in the charcoal grill. Charcoal can be really resistant and will take two days to turn down completely. It is a time-consuming process, but the benefits that this step has are absolutely worth it in the long run. Make sure to put the grill in a safer place that is out of reach of children or pets.

4. How To Separate The Briquettes, Charcoal, and Ash?

When you open the lid after two days of waiting, your grill will have a lot of ash, spent charcoals, and unburnt briquettes. The first thing that you have to do is separate the unburnt briquettes as you can reuse them next time. Wear the heat-resistant glove on your hands, take the grill’s grate out of the grill, and pick the briquettes out with a metallic spade.

Secure the briquettes in a metallic bin. Now, take the burnout coal and ash out of the charcoal grill and put it in a bucket full of cold water. So, the chances of the charcoal flaring up will diminish. You can also put the charcoal and ash inside an aluminum foil wrap. You cannot directly put it in a bin as it can cause a fire in the bin and can cause damage.

how to turn off charcoal grill

5. How To Clean The Grill?

Cleaning your charcoal grill is a vital step as if it is not cleaned properly, the food and stains on the grate will become impossible to get rid of.  The remnant of ash, when combined with moisture, can lead to rust formation.

So, take the grill brush and scrub the grate properly. You can use a water hose if needed. Also, scrub the charcoal tank to make it completely free. Once it becomes dry, you can put the unburnt briquettes inside the grill for future use.

how to cool down a charcoal grill

How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill Without A Lid?

Putting out a charcoal grill without a lid can be more hazardous but a quick process. If you want to put out the fire of a charcoal grill with no lid, then you will find it difficult to cool down the coals properly as you will not be able to reduce the oxygen level. It is difficult but not impossible. With some tools and proper guidance, you can easily pull it off. Here are the steps to put out a charcoal grill without a lid.

  1. Wait for the flames to cool down.
  2. Wear your heat protection gloves.
  3. Remove the grate.
  4. With a spade, put all of the ash, coal, and briquettes in a metallic bin and put a lid on it.
  5. You can either wait for 2 days or can put water in the bin.
  6. Don’t add water to the bin if you want to secure the briquettes for future use.
  7.  Take the grill tong, pick out the briquettes, and put them inside another metallic bin.
  8.  Now, you can either put water in a bucket containing the ash and coal or dispose of them by wrapping them in aluminum foil.
  9. Clean the charcoal grill.
  10. Put the bisquettes inside the clean grill and cover it.

Frequently Asked questions

Absolutely not. You can damage your grill in many ways by pouring water on it. First, the main reason for not doing so is that it will produce steam when you pour cold water on the hot grill. The burn caused by steam is much more painful than that by fire.

Second, the ash present inside the grill will react with water and speed up the rusting process of your grill. This will reduce the lifespan of your grill.

Coals are very volatile and create high heat even if a little amount of oxygen is present. Due to the combustible properties of coal, it is a difficult task to cool it down. Even if you have suffocated the coal of the oxygen, there are still chances for it to flare up.

Under low oxygen conditions, the coal can take up to 2 days or 48 hours to cool down completely. So, you can dispose of the coal after waiting for it to cool down completely.


I hope that now you know how to put out a charcoal grill. It is a responsible task for a grill master to extinguish the coals properly. It can be dangerous for the people, animals, and property near you. Putting out the charcoal grill by using the authentic method will put you in a safer position and help you save the unburnt briquettes for future use.

A clean grill will increase the life of your grill. You can enjoy an excellent and safe grilling experience by following these simple steps to put out the charcoal grill. Also checkout our buying guide about how to buy a best charcoal smoker. Happy grilling!

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