When it comes to producing authentic, smoky flavor to meat, charcoal grills are our grill of choice.

However, they do have some drawbacks, such as understanding temperature and fire control. And though these are two things you need to learn if you want to cook in a charcoal grill, there’s another concern you shouldn’t dismiss…

And that is knowing how to put out a charcoal grill.

Charcoal briquettes used in charcoal grills are ideal for cooking as it stays hot longer. However, this also means that it can be a challenge to put out. Slight air and even ash can cause briquettes to reignite, making them fire hazards.

But, must this concern stop you from using charcoal grills?

Of course, not!

Just like with using charcoal grills, learning how to put it out can also be simple, and that is exactly what we’re going to tackle in this article.

What Do I Need To Put Out Charcoal Grill

Extinguishing a charcoal grill properly can be a bit challenging. But to make the job easier, you will need a few things:

  • Heat-proof BBQ gloves (to prevent your hands from burning)
  • Ash scoop
  • Wire brush
  • Grill tongs (long ones, if possible)
  • Aluminum foil

Step-by-Step Instructions

Now that you have your materials ready, here’s a detailed guide on how you can put out your charcoal grill:

Step 1: Close Off All Oxygen Flow

As we all know, fire needs air or oxygen to continue burning. By closing off all oxygen flow, you’ll be putting out the fire burning inside the grill.

How do you do this?

It’s pretty simple. Close the lid and close off the top and bottom air vents to prevent air from coming in.

There’s one thing you should note, though. This step will not magically put out the fire immediately. At most, you will need to leave the grill closed for 48 hours, depending on how big the fire was when you stopped grilling.

So, it will take lots of your patience to wait.

Step 2: Remove the Charcoal Briquettes and Ash

After 48 hours is over, you can now start removing the charcoal briquettes and ash from your grill.

Grab your ash scooper and slowly scoop out the ashes from your grill. Prepare a sheet of aluminum foil and pour all the collected ashes there. After that, grab your grill tongs and pick up the charcoal briquettes one by one and place them on the foil, too.

Note: Do be careful in picking up the briquettes because they may still be hot after 48 hours. If you still have reusable briquettes, you can place them on a separate aluminum foil.

Step 3: Dispose of the Aluminum Foil

After you’ve collected your charcoal briquettes and ashes, create a packet with your aluminum foil and dispose of it in the trash can. Remember, if you think the briquettes or ashes are still hot, don’t throw them out in a plastic trash can.

Step 4: Clean Your Grill

And you’re done! Well, almost…

Of course, to ensure that your charcoal grill stays in excellent condition, you should clean it, too.

Sweep off the remaining ash with the metallic spatula. Then, clean up the chamber and make sure that the vents are clear. Use soap and water to clean the grates and brush them down with a wire brush.

How Do I Put Out Charcoal For Reuse?

Any charcoal that hasn’t been used fully can be reused. However, if you wait for 48 hours for briquettes to cool down, you will have to expect that you’ll only be getting a few briquettes to use again.

So, if you’re looking to reuse more charcoal, you don’t have to wait for 48 hours. Instead, get yourself a metal bucket and fill it out with water and gather the same materials as indicated above.

Start by closing off oxygen flow in your grill, but instead of waiting for 48 hours, just wait for one hour. This is enough time for the grill to cool down a bit.

After an hour, open the lid, wear the heat-proof gloves, and grab your grill tongs. Pick out one charcoal briquette and dunk it in the water for one minute. After that, transfer the now wet charcoal to another surface.

Do this for the rest of the charcoal briquettes, and make sure that you do it one by one. It can be quite a hassle, but this will be worth it.

Once you’ve gathered all the briquettes, arrange them in one layer and let them dry out under the sun. After that, store them in a fireproof container.

To use them again the next time, mix in some new charcoal briquettes for better burning. Also, you should make sure that you’re using high-quality briquettes for this method to work.

How Long Does It Take For Charcoal To Burn Out?

It depends on many factors, like how big the fire is before you put it out. But the average amount is usually two days, which is why it’s required for you to wait 48 hours before you pick up the charcoal out from the grill. This is the amount of time needed to ensure that no briquette is left burning and that you’re safe.

Can I Pour Water On My Charcoal?

When something’s burning, the first thought that would probably cross your mind is to pour water. After all, water is fire’s greatest enemy.

You’ll probably see several methods that will tell you to pour or spray water on your briquettes to put them out. But just because it works doesn’t mean you should do it already. Here’s why.

First of all, your charcoal grill is very hot. Pouring water into it will cause the grill to go into shock, which results in a crack and other damages.

Secondly, pouring water over your charcoal will create steam that can get you burned.

Third, this method is going to cause a huge mess. When ash gets wet, it becomes super muddy. So, when it dries up will clog your vents and other openings. You’ll need to clean extra hard just to get rid of it.

So, unless you’re in a hurry or you’re out camping and can’t wait for 48 hours, don’t pour water over your charcoal. If you need to, pour only a little water and transfer the whole mess into one container. After that, clean out the charcoal grill immediately (if possible) to prevent mud from drying up.


Putting out a charcoal grill properly is very important to ensure your safety. So, as a recap, remember these essential things:

  • Close off all oxygen flow and wait for 48 hours for charcoal to cool down. If you can’t wait that long or want to reuse the charcoal, grab a bucket of water and dip each charcoal into the water one by one.
  • Remove ash and clean out your grill after use, so it doesn’t get damaged.
  • As much as possible, don’t pour water over your charcoal grill to put out charcoal.

This may sound like a lot of work for what looks like a simple task. However, all these are necessary to ensure your safety and also to maintain your grill’s quality.