The safest way to extinguish a charcoal grill

Since the method recommended by the HPBA pros takes at least two days, it’s not the best option for all situations. So what if you’re grilling on the go?

Unlike a gas grill, access to oxygen is important to keep the charcoal burning. (This is why you should leave the lid on while cooking on a charcoal grill, as removing it can harm the flames.) If you want your charcoal grill to go out faster, be sure to turn off the access to oxygen as soon as possible, by closing the lid and the vents. To further speed up the cooling process, you can wrap the hot coals in aluminum foil and soak them in water. The sheet will prevent superheated steam from rising and decrease the spread of ashes everywhere. (You can also pour water directly into partially cooled coals, according to Kingsford, but be careful and be prepared for that ash and steam.) Such a process also allows coals to be smothered in a public park or another place without requiring you to camp for two days without a grill. Kingsford explains that this method also allows you to save larger, partially burnt coals for future cooking – just spray them with water and allow them to dry completely before storing.

Following these simple steps ensures easy cleaning and optimum safety. Charcoal cooking opens up convivial experiences – there’s nothing quite like sharing a flame-cooked meal with friends – so don’t let disposal issues keep you from having your best barbecue ever.


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Edward L. Robinett