What To Do With Charcoal After Grilling

Many people like to use charcoal when it comes to grilling. Some people will even say that it is not actual grilling if you are not using charcoal. However, what do you do with the charcoal that is left after the grilling process? Do you just throw it away or do you need to do something else? Well, we have the answer here for you. It is not easy to switch it on or off like a gas grill. You have to make sure to not waste any fuel or cause any health hazards. You need to learn to extinguish the charcoal safely so that you can use it the next time too.

Why Do I Need to Extinguish My Charcoal Grill?

After you are done cooking you need to extinguish your charcoal. The lumps will continue to burn if you do not do anything about it. If you do not put out the charcoal properly then you have to face some problems. It is needed to be extinguished properly. If you do not put it out then it can be a risk to children, pets, unaware adults, and even your property. If you have left the charcoal unattended then anyone can assume that the grill is put out and wander around. It can cause severe burns if one goes ahead unaware of the grill.

What if your pet dog knocks over the entire grill and causes all the charcoal to fall everywhere? It can be a problem for everyone. It can cause several health hazards. If you let the charcoal burn without any need then you are needlessly releasing carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into the environment. You are also wasting fuel that you can use later. Charcoal can remain hot for a long time. You can not dispose of it without risking the start of a fire.

Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Put Out A Charcoal Grill

There are many people who will suggest a lot of ways to put out a charcoal grill. Take a look at the most effective one.

The first thing that you need to do is to close the vents and put on the lid. Charcoal is going to need air to burn. Closing all the vents and the lid will cut off all the air supply and oxygen to the grill. It suffocates the charcoal and it goes off after some time. Next you need to wait for around 8 hours for the charcoal to completely cool down. Yes, it is a long time but you are going to need that. The charcoal needs time to cool down. Make sure that it is out of everyone's way to prevent any accidents.

If you have an ash tray with your grill then you can obviously use it to collect the ash and then dispose of it. The container should always be made of metal and not plastic. Scoop out the charcoal ash from the bottom of the grill. You can also use aluminum foil for the collection too if you do not have any metal containers at hand. This can prevent any live embers from putting things on fire.

If you see that there are lumps of charcoal that can be used later on then you can pull it out from the tray and then save them for later. Do not use your bare hands for that, you gave to use tongs so that you are safe. Once again you need to store them in a metal container and not a plastic one.

Can I Pour Water On My Charcoal to Put it Out?

You do not have to put water on charcoal. This is one of the worst thing that you can do when you are trying to put out charcoal. Pouring a tub of water on top of the charcoal is going to put them out but that is not something that you should be doing. There has been a lot of debate among the grilling community about what needs to be done but the dispute has been going on for a long time. 

There are many reasons why you should not pour water on the charcoal. The thermal shock of putting the cold water on the hot grill can cause the grill to crack. The sudden steam that will form can be a health hazard. It can create a sludge like mess at the bottom of the grill. You can clog up the vents and cause a difficult clean up in the future. You should only use water when you absolutely need to put out the fire immediately and move.

What to Do In An Emergency

There can be an accidental fire. It can be caused by the grease dripping from the food. When the grease causes a flame it is known as a flare-up. Most flare-ups can be easily controlled. Whatever you do, do not pour water over it. Pouring water on grease fire can cause the fire to get out of hand. It is a very bad thing that can happen. The best thing that you can do it to put the lid back on the grill. This will cut off the oxygen. You should wear heat proof gloves. If you do not have anything then you can use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. You should always keep the fire extinguisher at hand. 

How Can I Save Unused Charcoal?

You can save the charcoal that has not been used in the cooking process. This will help you save fuel and prevent any kind of wastage. If you want to save a lot of charcoal then you can even dry out the doused charcoal and use it. This will percent any wastage of charcoal but you need to be aware of the risks that comes with using water on hot charcoal. If you are going to do it anyway then this is how you can do it. Take a look.

First you need to take a metal bucket and then fill it with water. You should have a pair of heat proof gloves and metal tongs at the ready. Use the tongs to take out a single piece of charcoal from the grill. You need to be very careful while doing this. Make sure that there are no children or pets running around when you are doing this.

Dunk the charcoal on water for around a minute or two. Now you can take it out and put it on a non-flammable surface. Then you need to repeat this process with every lump of charcoal. You need to do this very carefully and do not burn yourself in the process. 

After you are down with all the charcoal you have to let them air dry. Leave them in the sun for the charcoal to be completely dry. Then you can store the charcoal in a fire-proof container. When you are using this charcoal again you should mix it with new charcoal so that you get the best results.

This method is not fit for the cheap lumps of charcoal. The cheap ones can break down when it is wet. However, you have to be careful with the high end ones too. Charcoal is not very expensive in the first place but if you want to save them and think that the effort is worth it then go right ahead. We always think that it is better to save whatever we can. 


Thank you so much for giving this article here a read. We do hope that you have had a fun time with the article and you have learned a lot of new things too. Now you do not need to let your charcoal go to waste. This is better for the environment too. We understand that it won't cost you much to buy another bag of charcoal but it is always good to save the goods. That's all that we have to say. Be careful when you are cooking with charcoal. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Enjoy the authentic flavor of grilling with pure smoky flavor of charcoal.