What You Need To Know About Charcoal Grills
Unlike gas grills, there isnt an off switch you can turn when youre done grilling with charcoal.
The coals burn extremely hot and can take up to 48 hours to completely cool so they can be disposed of.
There are options to speed the process up, but they should still be left to sit for several hours before you handle them.
Some people may think its okay to just let the coals burn out without assistance, but this leaves a dangerous situation for pets and people. Its also a fire hazard if left unattended!
Remember to always throw the coals and ashes away in a noncombustible bin!
putting your charcoal out
Step 1: Shut it Down
When youre ready to put your grill out, the first step is to close the lid, so it smothers the flames.
Close any ventilation ports in the lid and put it on the grill, allowing it to sit until its completely cool. That takes about 48 hours.
If youre like me, thats a long time to wait.
Need to extinguish the charcoal quickly? Try this!
You can cool your grill down quickly by removing the briquettes from the grill.
Using heatproof gloves and long tongs, take the charcoal briquettes out one by one and drop them into a metal bucket of cold water.
The ash can be scooped out using a spoon or metal scoop and placed into a separate metal container.
Pro Tip > > When youre done, put your hot tongs on a non-flammable surface.
Step 2: Dispose of Ashes and Charcoal
If there are any briquettes that can be salvaged and used later, set them aside for now.
How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill Safely
A barbecue set up on the weekend with those fresh steaks coming right out. What can you ask more from life? Yes, we know what you are saying. The meal and all is fine, but what about the post-meal cleanup.
A charcoal barbeque lunch affirmatively sounds terrific with the dash of extra grilling and the authentic aroma that beautifies the process, but it sure needs a lot of cleaning up after you are done cooking your meal.
Its not just about the grime and the mess. Putting out that bad boy is a task of its own
How To Clean A Charcoal Grill
Clean the grill right after cooking, while its still hot, using a stiff-wire grill brush. Use it every time you grill to remove food particles from the cooking surface.
If you’re looking for an alternative to using wire brushes , rub your grill grates with a peeled half onion,” pitmaster Megan Day told TODAY Food. “Allow the grill to heat up to a high temperature. Pierce the half onion with a fork and rub the cut-side down along the grill grates. The onion’s juices will release and produce steam to remove the bits and charred on debris.”
This post was originally published on May 25, 2016. Related:
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Equipment To Help Put Out A Charcoal Grill
You dont need a huge amount of equipment to safely put out your charcoal grill, just a few of the standard barbecue accessories and a few extras from the kitchen cupboard, including:
- Aluminum foil
- A bucket of water
- Baking soda
To make sure youve got all the information you need to safely put out your grill, weve put together some of the most frequently asked questions on the subject and answered them for you:
Putting Out A Charcoal Grill
There are two ways of doing this, and one of them might shock you.
The first one is letting it cool off slowly, by closing the lid and any air vents that are supplying air to the charcoal. Most charcoal grills are made of steel or cast iron, which doesnt warp under heavy heat, which is the main concern many have when closing the lid.
The second is water. Yes, rapidly cooling your charcoal with water. But I would exercise CAUTION if youre thinking of adopting this practice.
Water only works for grills that are only charcoal grills and not hybrids. In other words, the only heat source that the grill is either wood or charcoal, and not gas.
If your grill has a supplementary gas source, do not, under any circumstance use water to cool down the grill. You risk damaging the gas system at the very least, and possibly hurting yourself and/or others in the process at most.
So, I lean mostly towards the first method which is closing all air vents and the lid, especially if youre a novice griller.
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Consider Using Reusing Lightly Used Charcoal
Before drowning the charcoal in water or throwing them out, consider how much they were used. If the charcoals were just lightly used, feel free to reuse them. To reuse the charcoal, lightly spray them with water to stop the burning them for burning. Emphasis on the lightly. If you drown them like you would normally, you probably wont be able to use them again.
Once they have been sprayed with water and put out, wait until the coals are dried completely. Once they have completely dried, they are good to be used again. I would reuse the charcoal whenever possible because it will cut down on waste and expenses if you find yourself using your grill a lot.
I hope you found these tips on how to put out your charcoal grill helpful. For more tips on grilling, be sure to check out our grilling section!
Direct Heat For High Temperature Grilling
The direct heat grilling method is best for steaks, chops, hamburgers, kabobs, vegetables and food that cooks quickly. There is basically one way to arrange the coals when cooking with direct heat. Charcoal is spread evenly across the charcoal grate for even heat distribution. Once the coals are lit, close the lid and preheat for 20 to 30 minutes.
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Direct Vs Indirect Heat
Direct and indirect are merely two ways you deliver heat to the food you’re grilling.
Direct heat is when the food is grilled directly over the coals. This delivers heat to in two different ways. The main contender is radiant heat, which will quickly cook the fire-exposed side of whatever you are grilling, creating a nice, crusty sear. The second is conductive heat, created from the super-heated grill grate, leaving those ubiquitous grill marks that proudly say to the world, “This food has been grilled!”
Alternatively, indirect heat is when food is placed away from the coals and, when the lid is closed, hits your food with some convection heat action, much like an oven. Unlike direct heat, which blasts your food with some extreme energy, indirect delivers a more gentle heat, and even though radiant and conductive heat are in play a little, it will not create the sear and grill marks to the extent direct-heat grilling does.
So having that down, it’s time to put them into action with coal arrangements.
Is There A Faster Way To Cool Down My Charcoal Grill
In short, not really. Ive seen some people suggesting simply spraying or pouring water on to the coals to cool them down faster, but this is just too risky as the sudden temperature imbalance will risk cracking your BBQ chamber and any porcelain inside the grill .
Yes, waiting for up to 48 hours for it completely cool down is tedious, but its the safest way to make certain that both you and your grill are safe.
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Charcoal Like Anything Needs Oxygen To Burn
How to put out a charcoal grill without a lid. It entails starving the fire of oxygen by restricting airflow. Close your grill lid and wait for about an hour. With a gas grill, keeping the lid down will hold in heat, bringing up temperatures quickly.
Before starting the fire, you will first need to position the chimney on the grill grate for safety. This is because the coals now have access to huge amounts of oxygen. There are two options for extinguishing your burned coals.
Your charcoal grill can be put out simply by extinguishing all of the coals, safely disposing of the ash, and then cleaning your grill to prevent any additional fire. Note that coal takes a while to go out. But sometimes you want a combination approach:
This method is used when you put out the charcoal grill for reuse. Put the lid on and close the top and bottom vents. You need to close the grill lid and block off.
Youll work with a hot and cool zone, but instead of doing the whole cook in the cool zone with the lid closed, you start that way until the food is almost at temperature, then take the lid off and finish over the direct heat to get a nice sear and crisp and grill marks on the outside. If you do not have a lid for your grill, you can empty out the hot charcoal into a metal bucket and let the hot pieces cool outside of the grill. Wrap the cool charcoal in the foil and dispose of it in the metallic bin.
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Pin on churrasco
Final Thoughts On Grilling Safety
I always stress grilling safety, and when youre dealing with hot charcoal briquettes, its even more crucial.
If you do have an accident and burn yourself, here are some steps you can follow .
Your grill can stay hot for hours after youre done cooking, so please dont put your cover on it right away. More importantly, remember to keep kids away from the hot grill.
Please never attempt to put your coals out if theyre still burning.
Grill safely so you can grill again!
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How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill
When grilling is complete, you must extinguish the charcoal. Never dispose of used charcoal and ash until it has completely cooled.
The easiest method to extinguish a charcoal fire is to suffocate the hot coals by shutting the lid and closing the vents. It can take up to two days for them to become cold and eliminate the possibility of re-igniting. With this method, any gently used pieces of charcoal can be saved and used for your next cookout.
Hot coals can be sprayed with water from a garden hose but doing this can be messy and create more cleanup time.
Once the coals and ash are cold, remove them from the grill. Wrap the contents in a piece of aluminum foil and throw away with your other trash in a garbage can.
After Your Charcoal Has Cooled
Once you are sure the charcoal is cool , you can clean up your grill.
If you used a method that didnt involve dousing the charcoal with water or burning it to ash, then you may be able to re-use it. Remove the unburned and half burned charcoal and store it in a dry place.
Clean out the ash. Ash has multiple uses around the house or you can wrap it up in some aluminum foil and put them in a metal trash can if you can.
Safety tip: before disposing of your ashes be sure that there are no hot embers left.
About The Author
Aaron is the founder of and Essential Home and Garden. He likes to spend his spare time with his family, and doing DIY projects in the home and garden.
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What To Grill On Low Heat
Christopher Arturo, Culinary Arts chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, does not recommend grilling at low heat on a charcoal grill for the whole time because the protein will likely dry out. That being said, there are certain foods that do well cooked on high heat and then transferred to an area of the grill at low heat. Folks can do this with larger pieces of protein, like pork chops, as well as fattier fishes like salmon. Arturo also loves grilling a whole onion with this method.
Can I Pour Water On My Charcoal Grill
If you pour water on a hot charcoal grill, it can damage the grill and be dangerous to you. Poured water can cause cracks and holes in the metal of your grill. It also leaves a mess of sludge to clean up from the bottom of your grill, making the process even longer.
Pouring water onto a hot grill creates a cloud of steam that can cause burns. Additionally, it can also send ashes flying out of the grill if you pour water quickly.
Simply put, it is not advisable to pour water directly onto a hot grill.
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Clean The Remaining Ash
Clean up the leftover ashes off the grill by sweeping them off using a metal spatula. You can also use the leftover ash later once you cool them off and take care of any chances of fire re-ignition.
Caution: The ashes can easily enter the vent area, disturbing the flow of the grill, making it difficult for you to use it next time.
How To Start A Charcoal Grill
Traditional briquettes are inexpensive, light easily and burn long and steady. If you want a more intense, smoky flavor, go with hardwood charcoal . These are blazingly hot but burn out faster.
Before you even light your grill, make sure to open to vents. The fire will need oxygen to keep going. After the charcoals are placed in the barbecue, you can control the internal cooking temperature by adjusting the vents: wider vents means hotter flames and more oxygen, while smaller vents means a cooler cooking temperature. Never close them all the way or the flames will go out.
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Gas Grill Can’t Heat Up
The reason many people look to the charcoal option is that their gas grill has a hard time reaching a good temperature. If this is the case, then there is probably something wrong with it that you need to get fixed.
Rather than trying to boost the heat with charcoal, you should check into repairing your gas grill. Spending a little money for the repair is likely going to be more economical than the potential of costly damage from using charcoal.
Why Cant You Pour Water Over Your Charcoals
There are two reasons you shouldnt ever just pour water over your coals as a method for how to put out a charcoal grill.
The first simply has to do with the fact that it will result in a mess. Your ash pan will turn into a cake of mud, and the splashage will likely cause a huge mess too. Even though it might sound counterintuitive, dumping water over your charcoal fire is just going to add to the amount of work you have to do.
The second, and more serious reason, has to do with the health of your grill. Your grills cooking chamber isnt designed for sudden, drastic changes in temperature. Pouring cold water over a scorching hot charcoal fire can lead to some serious damage via thermal shock, including cracking, inside of your grill. Porcelain enameled grill chambers and cooking grates especially will be prone to cracking if you dump water over your coals.
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Acquire A Chimney Starter
A charcoal chimney starter is basically a metal tube that you insert briquettes into . It has a grate toward the bottom that keeps the coals from falling through, and a couple of handles so you can pick the coal starter up when it’s hot. And that’s basically it.
This means that if you have the right tools and know-how, you could probably construct a simple charcoal chimney of your own. It will need to be the right size for the amount of charcoal your grill typically requires, but it is certainly a viable project.
However, the fastest and easiest method is to buy a charcoal chimney starter instead. They are a little more complicated than homemade versions, but safer and simpler to use, and they tend to come in a couple of different sizes based on your grilling needs.
How To Extinguish A Charcoal Grill
The charcoal briquets used in charcoal grills can stay hot long after you finish grilling. Air stirring through the cooling briquets and ash can reignite them and cause a fire, so extinguishing the grill properly is an important safety consideration. To keep yourself, your family and your guests safe, locate the vents on your grill before you begin using it, and don’t use more charcoal briquets than you need. The more charcoal you burn, the longer it will take for all the ashes to cool.
Put on heavy-duty oven mitts. Lower the lid on the grill, and turn the vents to close them. Most models have two vents, one on the bottom and one on the top.
Keep the lid and vents closed until the grill is cool to the touch, 48 hours if possible. Keep an eye on the grill whenever people or animals are in the area surrounding it.
Close the grill and charcoal for as long as possible if you aren’t able to keep the grill safe for a full 48 hours, for example if you have wild animals in your area that might tip the grill over during the night. Place a bucket of water beside the grill and transfer each briquet into the water using a pair of long-handled tongs. Close the lid again to prevent embers from blowing out and causing a fire, and keep it closed until cool.
Things You Will Need
Class B, ABC or K fire extinguisher
Keep a garden hose nearby while you grill in case an escaped ember starts a fire in your yard.
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