It’s every novice griller’s burning hot question: “How do you cool down or put out a charcoal grill after using it?”. Even though there are many that use and prefer charcoal grill, the answer to this question is still somewhat of a mystery.
There is also a sneaking wonder of can you preserve some of the coal and if so, how? We’ll go through the way that charcoal works, and what you can do to rapidly put out charcoal, and the widely accepted practice.
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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 doesn’t 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 you’re 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 you’re a novice griller.
Why Water Is Good For Cooling Down Charcoal
The reason why some grillers tend to adopt the second method is mainly for charcoal preservation. Rapid cooling to charcoal immediately stops the charcoal from burning up, and therefore, it will still have some burning performance in the future.
It may not sound like it is worth it- preserving a couple of charcoals, but in the long-run, you tend to save quite a lot.
But it is also important to mention that after using water to cool down an only-charcoal grill, it’s a good idea to open all air vents and the lid as well, so that it can air cool and any leftover water will dry up.
In addition, if you’re comfortable with using water to cool down the grill, make sure that you won’t need to use it for at least 3-5 days. The charcoal will be moist, and it might not perform the way that you would want it to.
There isn’t an exact figure of how much water you should use, but a good tell when it’s enough is the charcoal is once again black.
BUT, do not overflow it nor let the charcoals swim in water. Just sprinkle a little bit until the charcoals are black. Use a water can with holes on the nozzle for this part.
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IMPORTANT: If you’re a novice or you’re not aware whether your grill is ONLY charcoal, or a GAS-CHARCOAL hybrid, do not use water under any circumstance. If your grill is only charcoal, and you’re planning to use a bit of water, please exercise caution.
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