How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill Fire After Cooking

how to put out a charcoal grill

After we are done with grilling on our charcoal grill we like to eat our food while it is still hot. However, it is also important to put out the charcoal grill as fast and safely as possible.

The reason for this is that most of the time our grill is no longer watched and this can be a fire hazard.

Another reason for putting out your charcoal fire quickly is that you might like to reuse the old charcoal that is left.

“The easiest way is just to let it die out by itself and let it burn to ashes.”

This makes it easy to clean your grill. however it might take a long time before the fire is out.

What Does A Fire Need?

A fire needs 3 things to get started or to keep it going.

  • Heat
  • Oxygen
  • Fuel

For putting out a fire you need to take away one of these 3 things. So, what is the best way to put out a charcoal grill safely?


Taking away the fuel is not really an option so there are 2 options left. Heat and oxygen.


Taking away the heat can be done simply by using water. This can be a good idea when you try to put out a charcoal grill quickly at the park or when you use a grill with no lid.

Just do it slow and be aware of the fact that this can cause steam.


We all know that you can regulate the temperature in our grill with the vents. If you don’t know how to do that you can read my how to use the vents on a charcoal grill article.

That means that we can use the same vents to starve the charcoal of the oxygen it needs to keep on burning.

In general charcoal grills have to vents. One at the top and one at the bottom.

It is my experience that the fast way to put out a charcoal grill is the following steps.

Step 1: Right after you take the food off the grill shut the bottom vent of the grill.

The reason for this is that it stops the flow of oxygen to the fire and the heat can still escape through the top vent.

Step 2: After a minute off 2 shut the top vent.

Since the fire was already not getting any more oxygen from the bottom it is not time to shut off all the vents and starve the fire from having oxygen.

How long does it take to put out a charcoal fire on a grill?

This question is almost impossible to answer. It all depends on the size of the grill and the amount of charcoal you used.

It makes sense that a bigger grill that contains a big load of charcoal needs more time to be put out than a small camping charcoal grill.

I have used this method of starving the fire from oxygen many times on my average size grill and it takes about 30 minutes till it is cooled down enough for me to put the grill cover back on.

How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill – My Opinion

As I have mentioned above I think it is important to put out a charcoal grill after cooking for safety and for trying to save charcoal to be reused.

Especially if your charcoal grill is placed where you can not see it after cooking it is a safety precaution to put it out as fast and safely as possible.

One tip I have is to have a fire extinguisher for the grill available for any type of emergency while you are grilling such as a grease fire.

Any tips or ideas on the subject? Feel free to leave them in the comments.

Eddie van Aken

Eddie van Aken brings years of experience from running a full-service restaurant, where he honed his skills with all types of kitchen equipment. His expertise extends to mastering the art of outdoor cooking, utilizing the right recipes to enhance flavors on grills and smokers. Eddie’s in-depth knowledge allows him to provide comprehensive grill reviews and valuable outdoor cooking tips, helping enthusiasts make the most of their grilling adventures. You can read more on the¬†About page for Eddie van Aken

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