How to Put Out a Charcoal Grill (5 Methods)

Charcoal grills offer a wide range of delicious meals, from shrimp and ribs to vegetables and fish. While they are great to cook with, do you know how to put out a charcoal grill effectively? There are various ways you can do this safely; some methods even allow you to put out your grill and save the charcoal for your next grilling session. Here are 5 methods on how to put out a charcoal grill, including safety tips.

How to put out a charcoal grill – 5 methods

1. Close your grill lid

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black

One of the easiest and safest ways to put out a charcoal grill is to use the grill lid. Most grills come with a lid, and by simply closing the lid and vents, you will starve the charcoals of oxygen and stop them from burning. Although it can take up to 48 hours for the coals to cool completely, it also allows you to reuse the coals when you next cook.

Once your charcoal has cooled down, remove the half-burned and unburned pieces to store in a dry and fire-proof place. Always make sure there are no hot embers left and don’t use your hand to check if your coal has cooled!

If your charcoal grill doesn’t have a lid or the lid is broken, you might want to consider buying a lid for the grill. There are plenty of options to replace lids or buy lids at a size that fits your model.

You can order the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill shown above on Amazon.

2. Use your grill lid and water

If you want to put out your charcoal grill faster than the method above, you can combine using your grill lid and submerging each piece of coal in a bucket of water. It takes more effort to do this but can save more charcoal for later use.

The method involves:

  • Closing your grill vents and grill lid
  • Waiting about an hour
  • Using heat-resistant gloves and grill tongs, grab a piece of charcoal and submerge it in a bucket of water one-by-one
  • Air-drying the charcoals in the sun
  • Storing dried charcoals in a cool place

Remember, never pour water over your coals to put out a charcoal grill! Doing this really only works with open-pit charcoal fires like at a campsite. If you pour cold water into your grill, you can cause damage to the inside of your grill, including cracking, due to thermal shock.

This method also isn’t ideal if you are using cheap charcoal that crumbles easily or ones made with starter agents. Washing off the starter agents may make the charcoal harder to relight later.

3. Use a bucket of water without the grill lid

The method above can still be used even if you don’t have a lid. Just skip the step of closing the lid and waiting for an hour. Do note, however, that the charcoals will be much hotter and will create more steam when you submerge them in the water.

Note: Always remember not to have your limbs or body directly over the bucket as hot steam can be very painful.

4. Use a separate metal container

Suppose your charcoal grill doesn’t have a lid. In that case, you can still put it out, replicating method number 1 by using a separate metal container. Make sure to wear heat-resistant gloves since you will be handling pretty hot charcoal.

Using long-handled grill tongs, remove the blocks of charcoal and place them in a metal container. You can also use a long shovel to shovel the coals into the container as well. Close the lid to the container and wait up to 48 hours for the coals to cool. Heavy-duty steel trash cans with secured lids are a good choice for this purpose.

5. Let your coals burn out

Without a grill lid, you can also simply let your charcoals burn out. It can take some time and you will be left with ash and no coals for future grilling sessions but it is a possibility. This method also prevents any potential damage to your grill as it allows the charcoals to cool off slowly.

However, there are certain things you need to be aware of if you are using this method:

  • Place the grill somewhere safe without anything nearby that it can accidentally catch fire to, such as tree limbs, plants, and grass
  • Keep your vents fully open so the coals burn out quickly and successfully
  • Keep kids and pets away from the grill area
  • Check-in on your grill and pay attention to any potential hazards, especially on windy days where embers can start a fire downwind

After your charcoal has cooled

Whichever method you choose, you should always clean your grill after your charcoals have cooled and/or you have removed them into a safe storing place. Collect and throw away the leftover ash into a metal trash can. Make sure there are no embers left in the ash, or you might accidentally start a trash can fire!

Written by OutdoorMotives

At we talk about all types of outdoor activities. We answer common questions and recommend the best products to help you enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.


How to Cover Up Mud in Your Backyard (5 Tips)

13 Types of Backyard Privacy Fences (With Pictures)