A Q&A with chef Cody Williams, who may just make the best burger in wine country.
Going out for burgers this holiday weekend, or firing up the grill at home? We talked to chef Cody Williams of Boon Fly Café at The Carneros Inn, 5 miles outside of Napa, who runs a burger and beer special every Wednesday, to get a little inspiration.
How long have you been doing the Wednesday burger night?
Cody Williams (CW): We’re going on 3 years. We’re the only casual restaurant in Carneros, and we have a lot of locals who keep coming back. On Wednesdays probably half of our dinner covers go to the burger.
What are some of your most popular ones?
CW: Right now, a lot of people are ordering the Black and blue burger. It’s stuffed with caramelized onions, Pt. Reyes blue cheese, parsley, and thyme, and is served with house-made spicy ketchup on our brioche bun. It pairs well with a Napa Smith Brewery pilsner.
The pilsner would also be nice our Parmesan burger. It’s a play on chicken parmesan with a San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil, and parmesan on top.
A lot of people like the Reuben burger. It’s served on rye bread with our own sauerkraut that’s finished with Napa Smith Bonfire beer, a little juniper, and brown sugar. We wrap the beef patty in corned beef, cooked in house, and top it with our Thousand Island sauce (it’s made with a little sambal).
The Caprese burger is always popular this time of year. It’s made with mozzarella, micro basil from the garden, and heirloom tomatoes.
What kind of meat do you use?
CW: We use Snake River Farms American Wagyu (Kobe). Snake River Farms is outside Boise and they do some of the best pork and beef in the country. It’s fantastic tasting meat.
Any tips for grilling perfect burgers?
CW: We form the patties ahead of time and let them rest, then cook them on a plancha with a weight on top to distribute the heat evenly without pressing out the juices. If you’re grilling them on a barbecue, the most important things are [good] seasoning and a nice hot sear. And let it rest a little after grilling for the juices to go back in.
Have you tried any combinations that were just too out-there?
CW: I did a seared ahi burger with avocado, arugula, and a wasabi aioli. It was great tasting, but when people order a burger, they really want the beef.
Tell us: What’s your favorite burger?