Grilling with charcoal is a time-proven way to create delicious meals for your family and friends.
Experienced grill enthusiasts become so comfortable with charcoal that they can control the temperature intuitively. If you’re new to grilling with charcoal, it will take a few sessions before you get used to the temperature ranges and unique personality of your grill.
One of the hardest things in the early days will be reducing the temperature. Although it might seem daunting at first, you can actually control the temperature with a high degree of accuracy on any charcoal grill.
Here’s what you’ll need to do to cool down your charcoal grill for low-and-slow cooking, or when you’re finishing up a session.
Cooling Your Charcoal Grill While Cooking
When you grill with charcoal, the temperature is determined by how intense the coal burns. Charcoal needs oxygen to combust, and that oxygen is delivered through your charcoal grill vents.
Cooling your charcoal grill while cooking is relatively easy. All you need to do is restrict the airflow by closing your vents. If your grill is too hot and food is burning, try closing your vents slightly.
Monitor the temperature over the next five to ten minutes, and then close the vents to the halfway position if the cooking temperature is still more than you need.
Over time, you’ll get a feel for how to set your vents for cooking at any temperature. If you have a hood thermometer on your grill, you’ll be able to close the lid and get an accurate indication of the temperature.
You can also read your user manual for advice on how to control the temperature. Some grill designs have user-friendly settings with notches on the vent control, so cooling the grill while cooking will be easy and consistent.
Over a few sessions, cooling your grill will become something you barely have to think about. You can also increase the temperature by moving the vent in the opposite direction. Higher airflow leads to more intense burning, which will raise the temperature of your grill.
Cooling Your Charcoal Grill At the End of a Cooking Session
If you’ve finished cooking and need to cool your grill down for safe storage, you can follow these steps…
Remove all food from the grill, and remove the cooking grate using tongs. Set this aside in a safe area away from combustibles.
Use the tongs to carefully mix the burning charcoal. Spread it out as much as possible in the firebox to disperse heat.
Close the lid, and close the grill vents completely. This will starve the charcoal of oxygen.
After fifteen minutes, lift the lid off the grill.
Use a spray bottle to lightly cover the coals with water. Mix them as you spray. Don’t douse the coals as this will lead to a rapid release of steam which is dangerous to both you and the body of the grill.
Continue to lightly spray and stir the coals until they are cool. Leave the grill lid open for another hour to completely cool the coals.
Charcoal Just Got a Whole Lot More Convenient
When you know how to cool your charcoal grill for cooking or cleanup, it will become almost as convenient as a gas model. Now you can enjoy all the smoky flavors of charcoal without having to worry about unrestricted heat.