Skip to Content

How To Shut Down Weber Smokey Mountain | Explained!

We strive to provide you with authoritative, trustworthy, and expert advice. In doing so, the staff at performs extensive research, editing, and fact checking to every post on this webiste. If you feel that this article can improve, please feel free to reach us at

Before continuing this article, I wanted to let you know that I have a YouTube channel where I showcase all sorts of video content related to BBQ. Subscribing would mean a lot to me, and I very much appreicate all the support!

In the world of BBQ, traditional coal or wood burners are the best for that authentic smoked BBQ taste. 

The modern world bought us the gas BBQ for ease and efficiency, but you just cannot beat cooking meat over a real charcoal fire.

The one drawback with it is the shutdown. Gas can be switched off in an instant ensuring your BBQ is safe. A traditional coal or wood smoking BBQ is more complicated.

You can’t just turn off the coals.

Eventually, the coals will burn themselves out. However, this can take many hours, and left unattended your smoker could be a real hazard, especially if you have children or pets.

Not only could someone get hurt, if the smoker is knocked without you realizing it could cause a serious fire.

On top of this, it is also a waste of coal and you’ll be needlessly adding carbon dioxide to the environment. 

There are plenty of ways you can extinguish a smoker however, you must know how to do it safely.

The Weber Smokey Mountain is one of the best on the market and has a really simple extinguishing routine. 

How To Shut Down Weber Smokey Mountain

Shutting down a Weber Smokey Mountain is a very simple process. Once you have finished your smoke just close off all of the vents.

By shutting the intake vents and exhaust vents fully, you will starve the coal of oxygen which will extinguish the fire completely. 

You may find, on an unseasoned WSM, that oxygen still comes through your seals and door.

This will allow a small amount of oxygen in however, with the exhaust vents completely shut you won’t have the vacuum effect needed to keep the fire burning. As you use the WSM more and it becomes seasoned, shutting down your smoker will be quicker. 

Cooling Down WSM

To cool down the WSM you need to close your intake and exhaust vents. If you want to extinguish the fire then shut off all the vents completely.

If you want to just cool the WSM by knocking back the temperature. Close the intake vents almost completely at the bottom and leave the exhaust vent slightly open. 

You might be tempted to use water to cool down the charcoal before extinguishing your WSM. There is mixed advice on doing this. 

Drowning your coals will extinguish the fire. It could also cause burns due to the sudden plume of steam.

Ceramic is also prone to thermal shock, this could mean you crack your smoker. Finally, you’re going to create a sloppy, charcoal soup that will need to be cleaned before your next smoke. 

if you need to cool the WSM down in an emergency then water is an option. 

Closing Vents Weber Smokey Mountain

When cooking with a Weber Smokey Mountain, the exhaust vent should always remain more open than the intake vents.

The only exception to this is when you want to shut off the oxygen supply to your fire pit.

At this point, you would completely close the top and bottom vents on the Weber Smokey Mountain. Closing all the vents will put out the WSM.

Why Would You Try To Shut Down A Weber Smokey Mountain?

There are a few reasons you would try to shut down your WSM. 

  • You have finished cooking and are going to leave the WSM unattended. In this case, use the vent method to shut off the oxygen supply and starve the fire. 
  • You have an emergency mid-smoke and need to leave your WSM unattended. In this case, you may need to use a quicker method to shut down the WSM such as soaking the coals
  • You have had a flare-up. Although rare with the WSM, flare-ups can happen. In this case, do not use water as it can cause the situation to be worse. Instead shut off all the vents and put the lid on In extreme circumstances you may need to use a fire extinguisher. 

You also need to shut down a WSM so you can clean it. 

How Long Does It Take For A WSM To Cool Down?

While the coals may be extinguished after a few hours, you might want to leave your coals to sit and cool overnight. Leave the lid on and the vents closed, ensure your WSM is in a safe place where it cannot be knocked over, and then remove the coals in the morning. 

Does The Charcoal Stay Hot After All The Vents Are Closed?

When you shut all the vents you will starve the charcoal of oxygen which means the coals will slowly go out, This can take 2-4 hours depending on how much coal you have left after you finish cooking. 

In a brand new Weber Smokey Mountain, you may find that there are small gaps in the door seals. This could cause the charcoal to stay hotter for longer, even with all the vents shut. When you season your WSM, these gaps will fill up and you will find the shut down a lot more efficient. 

You could find your charcoal is hot for anywhere up to 8 hours. 

How Easy Is It To Shut Down A Weber Smokey Mountain

The Weber Smokey Mountain is extremely popular due to its ease of use. The shutdown process is very simple. Put the lid on, close up all of the intake vents and the exhaust vent and the coals will slowly burn out. 

Should I Clean My Weber Smokey Mountain After Every Smoke?

Cleaning your WSM is something you should do to ensure good maintenance. However, you don’t want to clean the whole smoker as this can remove some of the seasoning. 

After each smoke you should:

  • Remove Water Pan and empty the contents. Give it a gentle clean so it’s ready for next time. 
  • Clean the edge of the lid with a paper towel to remove grease. It is easier to do this when the smoker is warm.
  • Clean the smoke chamber where your grates are. You don’t have to scrub at it, just ensure any obvious large grease deposits are removed gently.
  • Dispose of any ashes and brush out the coal grate. 

This will help to ensure your WSM lasts as long as it was designed to.