We get asked often about how to safely dispose of coals and ash after you’re done grilling. And especially with so many states struggling with massive wildfires and tragic losses, we want to provide you with some extra guidance about safe and responsible grilling – particularly on how to extinguish and dispose of hot coals and ash after you’re done grilling with your GoBQ grill.

The GoBQ Grill is designed with safety in mind. The bottom air vents are located on the sides, not on the bottom, so there’s less risk of sparks, embers or ash escaping the confines of the grill while in use. And since it has a lid, the GoBQ complies with any “NO OPEN FLAME” restrictions that may be in place for parks, campgrounds and tailgating lots.

Before You GO…

Many public parks, campgrounds, picnic areas and tailgating lots have clearly marked HOT COAL barrels.

Review the instructions provided by the charcoal manufacturer. Our friends at Kingsford Charcoal offer some great tips as to how to dispose of coals while grilling and camping so check out their advice here. In general, most manufacturers recommend suffocating the coals as best you can. They also advise leaving the coals to burn out for at least 48 hours. Since many GoBQ-ers don’t plan on sticking around for 48 hours, below are some alternative options.

Contact the park ranger, campsite manager, or the local fire department to check on regulations and/or restrictions, and ask about their warnings and recommended method of coal disposal. Each location may have different regulations and processes in place, so do your research ahead of time.

How to Safely Dispose of Coals

If you’re grilling at a public park, campground or tailgating lot, look for those designated metal “HOT COAL” barrels and dump any unused coals in there. They should be clearly marked and are usually red. NEVER dump hot coals/ash in any container that is flammable or contains flammable material. So if that metal charcoal barrel is full of garbage (since some people can’t read), DO NOT dump hot coals or ash in there. NEVER put hot coals in wooden receptacles or plastic trash bins, ALWAYS find a metal one.

If there are no Hot Coal Barrels available, spray/pour water over the coals to thoroughly submerge and soak them. Stir the embers to make a soup. You can do this while the coals are still in the GoBQ, or dump them out in a tin pan (see instructions below). Don’t be shy, the more water you use the less likely you are to miss any smoldering coals. Drown. Them. Out! Don’t worry about the mess inside of your GoBQ, you can rinse it out with more water once you’re done. Once the coals have completely cooled to the touch, we recommend wrapping your coals completely in aluminum foil before tossing them into a non-combustible/metal outdoor trash receptacle.

Another one of our favorite tricks is to create makeshift tinfoil bowl as illustrated below.

The Tinfoil Bowl Method

What NOT to Do

  • NEVER dump hot coals near a tree trunk or under a bush. You may think this is safely away from people but the heat could damage the roots, create a fire hazard, and/or be hazardous to people or animals.
  • NEVER bury hot coals in the sand (or dirt). This may seem like a good idea to extinguish the flames and prevent someone from stepping on them, but coals can smolder for up to 24 hours. And since sand-covered coals cannot be seen, can be very dangerous to children who could be playing in the sand and accidentally dig up the hot coals.
  • NEVER dump hot coals/ash near any grass or leaves or anything flammable. Take EXTRA CAUTION, especially on windy days, to make sure NO hot sparks/embers/ash blow toward anything flammable. If this is not possible, MAKE SURE you completely extinguish the coals while they are contained in the base GoBQ.

Of course we all love the great outdoors and encourage everyone to get out there, so please be mindful and respectful of the regulations and requirements each space has, and explore with awareness, responsibility, and compassion. Respect the environment. A good rule of thumb and a popular camping motto is “LEAVE NO TRACE”. Grilling out in the great outdoors is a fun and an amazing experience – but should not be dangerous to our ecosystem.