Womenz Magazine

Here’s how to properly shut down a grill

Whether you use gas or charcoal, we’ve got you covered.

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we’re sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

The lightly charred surface of summer squash, the blackened crispy corners of a good steak, the soft, smokey flesh of stone fruit—they’re all achieved with grilling.

Summer grilling season is a celebrated tradition for many home cooks. And like any good kitchen equipment, a grill needs to be properly cared for —including letting it cool off.

Here are the proper ways shut down a grill, because cooling it off is just as important as firing it up.


Never dump hot coals into a garbage or trash can. Coals can stay hot for up to 24 hours—even a little ember can cause a fire.

Many people remove the cooking grate when they are done cooking. It is not absolutely crucial. If you are going to remove it, make sure you clean it first with a long handled grill brush (or tongs). It is very important that you have a safe place to put it, as it is probably very hot.

Find the vents on your grill—there are vents on the bottom and lid of the grill.

Stir up the charcoal, spray it with water, and put the lid on the grill. Make sure your vents are closed on the top and bottom. Next time you grill, you can add your fresh charcoal to the old stuff—stretching your charcoal and saving money.

Always keep a bucket full of water, or a fire extinguisher handy, just in case. You can always dump it on a friend when the grill is properly cooled.

When you are done cooking your food, set a 5 minute timer. Keep the grill on, with the lid open. When the timer goes off, it’s time to clean your grill grate.

Now you can turn off your grill: turn all the knobs to the “off” position. You should hear an audible popping sound as the gas stops flowing into the grill grates. The flames should also disappear.

Now that your grill is off, you need to turn off the gas tank. On top of the tank, there is a small knob that generally has arrows pointing to the “open” and “close” positions. Turn towards the close position, which should be clockwise (righty tighty, lefty loosey!).

If you have a grill cover, wait until the grill is cool before covering.

Now that you’ve properly shut down your grill and practiced fire safety, it’s time to enjoy the season’s most fun cooking technique.

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