After you’re done grilling your meat with the classic charcoal grill, you have no other business with it and you just wish it cools down as fast as possible.
But then it goes for hours without signs of cooling down. You wait and wait until you run out of patience…. then you start asking yourself how long does it take for my charcoal grill to cool down? How many more hours should I wait?
A typical charcoal grill takes up to 48 hours to fully cool down. This is an equivalent of 2 days cooling down completely. If you store your grill before this period is over, you could be risking a fire hazard!
Why does charcoal grill take too long to cool down?
The reason the charcoal grill takes too long to cool down is due to the coal embers which tend to glow extremely hot and radiate substantial amount of heat long after the fire in your charcoal grill has gone out.
For those who don’t know, embers form when the fire has only partially burnt parts of your coals. The remaining unburnt piece of coal still carries usable chemical energy. This energy lies deep into the center of the briquettes where oxygen can’t reach it and cause combustion.
The coal retains its hotness and won’t lose its thermal energy easily since combustion is still occurring at low level—only that it’s not enough to create a flame.
Just because your coals don’t look lit up doesn’t mean they have cooled down completely. The embers can easily rekindle a fire that can result in a fire hazard in your garage or shed. The specks of yellow, orange, or red lights you see on the embers are basically combustion taking place.
Once the embers have completely burned, they turn into oxidized minerals such as phosphorus and calcium. At this point, they’re referred to as ash.
How do you cool down a grill quickly?
The reason why 2 days seems like a long time to wait is because you’re following the longest but safest method to cool down your grill. That is, you close the lid, close all the vents, and leave it cool down on its own for a total of 48 hours.
So, is there a way you can quicken the cool down process for your charcoal grill?
- The water spray method: Some folks suggest spraying the coals with water after you have closed all the vents to keep off oxygen.
- Pouring water over burning charcoal: Others recommend pouring water directly to over the charcoal as your stir to help quickly cool down the ash and eliminate any dormant embers from reigniting.
While these two methods produce effective results for speeding up the cooling process, we don’t recommend using them, unless you’re in a hurry and need a quick fix.
Because coals burn at extremely high temperatures, up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, pouring water on them can result in harsh steam levels and at the same time disperse hot ash. These two ingredients make the perfect recipe for serious burns.
Also, pouring water on burning charcoal cause warping or cracks in your grill. Any porcelain coating on your grill grate won’t be spared from cracking.
An alternative way would be to remove the burning coals using a long handheld pair of tongs. However, you should make sure you put them in a metallic container. Of the coals are still burning hot, they’ll continue to burn in the new metal can and produce ashes. Consider removing them and dipping them in a bucket of water, one after the other.
How to dispose old charcoal and ash
After the 48 hours are over and you have confirmed that your charcoal grill has indeed cooled down completely, you should remove the burned out briquettes and ash for disposal.
With your heat-resistant mittens on, scoop up the cold ash and put it into a sheet of aluminum foil. Wrap up the sheet carefully and then dispose it into a metallic trash can. You’d want to avoid plastic bin because any signs of embers will melt or burn it down.
When sweeping up ashes out of your grill, you should also look out for any signs of sparks. Just to be on the safe side.
Remember to clean your grill after cooling down
The last thing you should do after your charcoal grill has cooled down is cleaning it up. This part is pretty simple for you and will only take a few minutes of your time.
Use a trowel or metal spatula to remove any remaining bits of cold ash. Brush down the grill grate with a wire brush to clean it.
You should also consider cleaning the grate with soap and water occasionally.
Finally, lubricate it with silicone spray to keep away rust and enhance your grill lifespan.
A typical charcoal grill takes up to 48 hours (2 day) to cool down completely. Right after using your grill, you should close all the vents and close the lid and then give it time to cool down.
Spraying or pouring water over the coals can help quicken the cooling process. But we don’t always recommend using water as it can cause scalding steam and even crack your grill.
When your grill has completely cooled down, make sure you remove all the burned out coal and ash and clean it thoroughly in preparedness for storage or next grilling session.