Grilling outside on a charcoal grill is the ultimate way to have a barbecue. Unfortunately, delicious as it is, grilling on a charcoal grill has the longest clean-up process ever!
Don’t think there’s a shortcut, no! A charcoal grill can easily set your yard on fire if not properly handled.
So, in this article, we shall discuss how to put out a charcoal grill as well as useful tips to keep you safe during and after grilling.
But first things first.
What is a charcoal grill?
A charcoal grill is the type of grill that uses natural lump coal or charcoal briquettes as the source of heat.
Normally, when you are shopping for a grill, you have a choice of either a charcoal grill or a gas grill.
Charcoal grills are cheaper than gas grills. As earlier stated, a charcoal grill will require quite a bit of work to get started and cleaned up afterward.
But you cannot beat that delicious smoky flavor a charcoal grill imparts on a barbecue though it does depend on the type of charcoal you use for grilling.
Briquettes are all about uniformity in size, heat, and burn time. They are easier to control heat-wise and burn longer. Natural lump coal, on the other hand, burns hotter and faster than briquettes. But it does carry the delicious smoky, charry flavor we love so much.
So, as they say, choose your charcoal for grilling wisely.
How to Put Out a Charcoal Grill?
There are two ways to put out a charcoal grill. In my opinion, the method you use will depend on two things.
One, how much time you have to spare and two, how much charcoal is remaining in your grill.
Method 1: Riding it out
When you are ready to put out your charcoal grill, here is what you can do.
Locate and close all the vents. Closing the vents ensures no more air circulation in the grill.
Put on heavy oven mitts and remove the charcoal grill grates.
Close the lid. This is also to ensure that there is no more oxygen supply to the charcoal.
Wait until the charcoal goes out on its own. This may take a while (usually up to 48 hours), depending on the amount of charcoal you have in the grill.
Once you ascertain that the charcoal is out, open the grill lid, and keep it open until the entire grill completely cools down. You should always be careful to avoid burns. Therefore, wear heat-resistant gloves before attempting to open the grill lid.
Remove the ash then thoroughly clean the entire grill paying attention to the vents and both levels of grates. Ash tends to hide in the vents.
Wrap the ash and unsalvageable charcoal in aluminum foil and dispose of it. If there are reusable charcoal bits, return them to the grill for use next time.
Method 2: Using Water
The truth is, sometimes you just don’t have the time or patience to wait it out. Also, if there is a lot of charcoal remaining in the grill, the wait could be much longer. So, here is what you can do.
Locate and close all the vents. This is a precaution to avoid flare-ups caused by any surge of air.
Have a bucket of water near you.
Put on heat-resistant gloves. Gently remove the grill grate to get to the charcoal.
Using long metal tongs, carefully pick up one hot charcoal at a time and drop it into the bucket of water.
Once all the hot charcoal is out of the grill, allow time for the grill to cool down. Keep the lid open so the grill can cool faster.
Clean out the ash and grill.
Scoop the wet charcoal from the water and spread it out to dry before storing it away. This charcoal is perfect for use the next time you barbecue.
Fire is dangerous. It can go wrong so fast and in so many ways.
Therefore, always have a water hose close by whenever you are handling a charcoal grill. You never know when you may need it.
Even better than a water hose is a fire extinguisher. Preferably a class ABC, B, or K fire extinguisher, which are all great for putting out grease fires. Keep yours close just in case.
Always ensure you have heavy heat-resistant mitts on to avoid burns on your hands. Also, wear appropriate clothing, which means no loosely hanging clothes. Ideally, put on an apron and ensure its well fastened.
Baking Soda is a great fire extinguisher. So, if you have a small flare-up, sprinkle baking soda on it to put it out.
Dos and Don’ts
Here are a few dos and don’ts of charcoal grill safety.
- Do let the charcoal go out by itself
- Don’t spray hot charcoal with water. This releases a cloud of hot steam that can inflict serious burns.
- Do dispose waste charcoal wrapped in aluminum foil and dump it in a metal bin.
- Don’t dispose of charcoal until you are certain its completely put out.
- Do constantly keep an eye on your grill during the cooling process. Particularly if you have pets, they are likely to knock it over. In fact, if this is the case, you are safer just using Method 2 above to put out your charcoal grill.
- Don’t use a charcoal grill on a wooden deck.
How to Put Out a Charcoal Grill Without a Lid?
A lid plays a crucial role when putting out a charcoal grill. However, if you have no lid, you can still safely put out your charcoal grill.
What you need:
- Long metal tongs
- Heavy oven mitts
- A bucket of water
- Aluminum foil
- Metallic bin
Step 1: Put on your heavy oven mitts.
Step 2: Remove the grill grates.
Step 3: Using the long metal tongs, pick the charcoal and dunk it in the water bucket.
Step 4: After all, the hot charcoal is out, let the grill cool before cleaning out the ash.
Step 5: Wrap the cool charcoal in the foil and dispose of it in the metallic bin.
Note that coal takes a while to go out. Ensure the briquettes are in the water a while before scooping them out.
How to Put Out a Charcoal Grill Quickly?
As we have earlier discussed, the best way to put out a charcoal grill quickly would be by dunking the charcoal in water.
You may come across content that recommends spraying or dousing your grill in water. But the truth is, this method is hazardous. Plus, you risk damaging your grill by dramatically altering the temperature without allowing enough transition time.
Therefore, no matter how much of a hurry you’re in, pouring water on your hot grill is never a good idea.
What to do with Charcoal After Grilling?
Did you know there are numerous ways you can reuse charcoal after grilling?
Well, it takes notes because this will surprise you quite a bit.
But before we go further, kindly note that this only applies to natural lump coal, not briquettes. Briquettes contain additives that aren’t natural.
Other Uses for Charcoal Ash:
1. Use it as fertilizer
Ash is rich in potassium carbonate (potash), which increases the PH in your soil and provides much-needed nutrients for your plants.
You may, however, need to research which plants appreciate ash and which ones don’t.
For instance, plants that prefer acidic soils don’t like potash. And neither do seedlings or newly planted seeds.
2. Pest and Algae Control
Sprinkling ash on your pond will control algae while strengthening other plants.
Additionally, spraying an ash concoction on your kitchen garden plants keeps beetles at bay. Lice and mites don’t like ash either. So, sprinkling ash around the perimeter of your chicken coop can repel lice and mites.
And that’s not all. If you want to take skunk funk out of your pet or make their coat shine, ash can help with that.
3. Shine your Silver
Did you know ash can restore your silver to its former shine? Well, it’s true. Lye soap also has ash as an ingredient.
In my opinion, there is only one befitting use for used charcoal; just reuse it in your grill.
How to Clean a Charcoal Grill After Putting it Out?
You must always keep your grill as clean as possible. This will ensure a hassle-free grilling experience as well as increase your grill’s durability.
Every time you leave your grill uncleaned, it only exposes it to the elements and makes your pre-grilling routine more difficult next time.
So, here is how to clean your grill after grilling.
What you will need:
- A coarse brush
- Bristle brush or putty knife
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic bag
- Paper towel
Step 1: Remove the grill grate and brush it with a bristle brush. You want to remove all the little chunks of food and grease stuck to the rails. If you have a kettle charcoal grill, clean the charcoal grates as well.
Step 2: Using your brush, remove all the debris and encrusted dirt from the bottom of your grill as well as the lid. If you notice any peeling paint, remove it with your putty knife. Afterward, use a soapy rug to wipe the exterior and lid of your grill clean.
Step 3: Wad up your aluminum foil and use it to scrape the remaining dirt off the grates.
Step 4: Scoop any ash and debris from the ash catcher and put it in your plastic bag. This is also the perfect time to inspect the vents for any ash. Ensure the vents are whistle-clean so you can have a pleasant grilling experience next time. Clogged air vents are a real problem.
Step 5: Wet your paper towel in oil and use it to rub-down the grill grates. Use just enough oil to coat the grates and not excess oil that drips on to the bottom. The best oil for this is canola oil, peanut oil, or olive oil.
This last step works best if you want to use the grill immediately. But it doesn’t hurt to use it every time you clean your grill to keep your grates protected.
Charcoal grill safety is nothing to scoff at. We are positive our charcoal grill hacks have enlightened you on how to use your charcoal grill safely.
Please share your experiences and opinions with us. Tell us about your indoor charcoal grill experiences as opposed to grilling outdoors. As usual, we love to hear from you.