Charcoal grills are one of those cooking implement and tools that takes a lot of skill to use correctly. From learning how to correctly load it to keeping your grill and the heat well-maintained whilst cooking with it, to even maintenance when not using it.
There is a lot to keep track of when it comes to using this kind of grill correctly.
One of the aspects that folks will often forget about however is how to put out these kinds of grills.
It’s an easy oversight to make, especially if you are focused on learning how to get the heat up with these grills. But learning how to put out the fire and heat is just as essential as lighting it up, and is vital to your safety when using them.
This is why we have created this guide to help show you how you can put out a charcoal grill for yourself, as well as other safety tips to keep in mind when using them.
Putting Out A Charcoal Grill
When it comes to putting out your charcoal grill once you know you are finished using it, it is best to split the process up into a few easy-to-follow steps.
1. Cooling The Charcoal
Probably the biggest step that you’re going to need to take into consideration, the charcoal that heats your grill, is the main issue that you’re going to deal with.
With the coals themselves only just starting to cool down after being used, there is every chance that they can quickly catch the wind and flare back up, turning from a helpful cooking heat into a serious fire hazard (since, you know, it is still on fire). Because of this, cooling the charcoal down should be your priority.
This can be done in a few ways, fortunately. The best way to do this is to simply let the heat from the charcoals cool down naturally. Remove any grills or shelves that your charcoal grill has, close the air vents to stop fueling the grill with oxygen, close the lid, and just let your burning charcoal cool down in its own time.
This does take a long time, so you should give your charcoal grill around 48 hours before you move on to the next step.
If you want to speed up the process slightly, try spreading out the charcoal across the base of the grill where you place it.
This will allow the individual coals to cool much quicker than if they are piled up and maintaining their accumulated heat.Avoid using water if possible, and only use a fine spray if you need to.
2. Charcoal Disposal
Once the charcoals have been reduced to a much safer heat to handle, you can now focus on disposing of them properly.
With charcoal being a potentially combustible fire hazard, you should take the necessary precautions to make sure that you safely dispose of it.
The best method is to wrap the now-cold charcoal in a sheet of aluminum foil, then get rid of it in a heat-proof receptacle. This will make sure that your ashes and charcoal don’t catch fire again while it is being thrown into the garbage.
3. Clean The Grill
You don’t want the smell or leftover grease to affect your next cook, so you’ll also need to clean the grill out once you have disposed of the charcoal itself.
Sweep or scoop up any remaining ashes that are still leftover in the bottom of the grill with a spatula or shovel, before disposing of them.
Now is the step when you can use warm water to thoroughly clean out your grill until it is spotless, preferably by using a metal grill brush. Make sure that you clean everything from the grill rack to the grates, to the charcoal pan itself!
Optional Step: Preserving Partially Used Coals
You may find that some of your charcoal briquettes have only been partially burned, and could still be used again.
If you find some pieces that can be burned again, spray them lightly with water mist to stop them from burning, and allow them to dry and cool off away from the rest of the charcoal.
Take them out while you are cleaning the grill, then place them back in once you are finished.
Items To Have When Cleaning
Make sure that you have a pair of heat-proof gloves for handling hot charcoal. You’ll also want grill tongues to move the still usable charcoal pieces, as well as a spatula or small fire shovel to remove the ash and remains.
And, of course, make sure you have a fire extinguisher, handy, just in case!
Using Water To Cool Down Your Charcoal Grill
When it comes to putting out a charcoal grill, many people will likely be tempted to simply pour cold water onto your still-hot coals to speed run the whole cooling process.
The logic behind this move is sound: you douse a fire with water, so why wouldn’t you do the same for the fire at the bottom of your grill?
Well, there are a few good reasons why you should avoid using this method.
Chief among them is your safety/ When you pour a large amount of water onto a burning-hot fire, you’re going to generate a lot of steam over it.
Not only does this make seeing if you have put the fire out a nightmare, but the steam itself will likely be around boiling temperatures, which can leave you with some nasty burns if you are stood close to it, especially if the fire spits the boiling water back at you.
Damage To The Grill
The second reason is the health of the grill itself. While the metal of charcoal grills is made to withstand high temperatures, suddenly changing or dropping temperature can cause the metal to warp and even crack, potentially damaging and ruining that new grill that you bought.
Hopefully, this guide will come in handy for you next time you’re cooking!