My BigMouth Blog | A Blog by Jason Glover

S1-E2 Crab Cakes and Banana Foster Cooking with Thom

Check it out! Thom teaches me how to crack open a whole crab and turn it into stellar Crab Cakes, then follows up and makes an incredible dessert; Bananas Foster

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Thom McMahon

Business Professional

Thom overcame throat cancer a number of years ago, lost 40 pounds and can now fit into his 1982 wardrobe. He told his wife he was saving those clothes because one day he was going to wear them again. He grew up on the East Coast then moved to the West. He’s a professional at business but a redneck at heart. Thom is also a competitive bass fisherman and loves to hunt with his black lab, Midnight. He is the father of two kids who both play competitive sports and a lucky husband to an incredible woman.

Q1 - What’s one tool in the kitchen you wish you had and why?

I would love a salamander broiler. There are several dishes I like to cook that finish under the broiler. When broiling in the oven you have to keep opening the door to check on how things are progressing. A minute or two too long and your meal can turn out burnt and ruined. With the big opening of a salamander you can see exactly how your dish is doing and pull it right at that moment of perfection.

Q2 - What’s your biggest meal disaster?

Several years ago I was making a spice rub for barbecued ribs. In order to use and measure paprika easier, I moved it to a glass jar that was very similar to what I kept my cayenne pepper in. The rub called for several tablespoons of paprika and not knowing I grabbed the cayenne by mistake. You can guess what happened…the first bite of a delicious looking smoked and sauced rib quickly turned in to a sprint to the refrigerator to chug some milk. Now I keep the 2 similar looking spices in completely different looking containers.

Q3 - What’s one thing you would like to learn how to make?

Tanya’s gumbo! A friend’s wife makes the best chicken and sausage gumbo I have ever had. She gave me her recipe but I just can’t pull it off the way she makes it. I don’t know what she does different, but it’s awesome. I think she’s keeping a few secrets…

Q4 - If there was one dish you would teach your kid to make, what would it be?

Home-made spaghetti sauce. I don’t think anyone should have to eat the stuff that comes out of a jar. My wife is Italian and taught me the most incredible sauce that she learned from her grandmother.

Q5 - What does it mean to you as a dad to cook for your family?

It means everything. My dad and grandfather were excellent cooks and my role models for so many things in life. I love it when my wife and kids are in the kitchen with me when I’m cooking and we are just hanging out, talking and laughing.



Have a few good laughs on these crazy bloopers with Thom McMahon and Jason Glover

Transcript of Season 1 Episode 2

Jason Glover: Welcome to Dads that Cook. I’m Jason Glover. I’m on a quest right now to go out around the country and find dads that know how to cook. They may be plumbers, electrician, physicians. We’re gonna highlight the incredible meals that they make. Show everything that they do and get you the recipe so you can make them when you’re sitting at home with your family as well. There’s no time limits. There’s no secret ingredients and no experts. Just good cooking.

This week on Dads that Cook we’re meeting the incredible Thom McMahon. A dad. A cancer survivor. And an excellent cook. In this special episode Thom and his daughter Taylor are gonna show us how to crack your own crab and turn it into tasty crab cakes. Thom will also show us how to make his family favorite desert, Bananas Foster.

All right. Welcome to Dads that Cook. I’m Jason Glover. We have an awesome guest today. Thom McMahon, who is gonna make some phenomenal stuff. I can’t wait. The menu looks great. Who are you Thom?

Thom McMahon: I’m Thom McMahon.

Jason Glover: He’s Thom McMahon. Not Ed McMahon’s brother or anything are you?

Thom McMahon: Or Jim McMahon the football player.

Jason Glover: Neither. What do you do?

Thom McMahon: I’m a retired Chippendale!

Jason Glover: Why did you retire Thom? It seems like such a great career.

Thom McMahon: I was having a hard time with the buttons. Bow chicka bow bow!

Jason Glover: You are married obviously.

Thom McMahon: Beautiful wife Laura.

Jason Glover: You have a couple of kids.

Thom McMahon: Taylor and Tristan. Taylor is my 14 year old daughter. Tristan is my 12 year old son.

Jason Glover: And I take it you like them.

Thom McMahon: Once in a while.

Jason Glover: Yeah.

Thom McMahon: On some days I’d like to trade them.

Jason Glover: What got you into cooking?

Thom McMahon: I’m an only child. Grew up two working parents. The only time to really be with my folks was in the kitchen at night. You know, extra pair of hands. That’s how I started out. Slowly refined my skills as I grew up.

Jason Glover: You had some health stuff happen.

Thom McMahon: Yeah. 2008 I was diagnosed with throat cancer. I had smoked for 20 years and in ’97 when we decided to have a family I gave it up. It just eventually caught up with me. There was just a bump on my neck as I was shaving one morning and if I was not as vain as I am I probably would let it go. I don’t get on a soapbox about telling people about their vices or what to do, what not to do. But one thing I do now say is that if you have something going on, go see a doctor.

Jason Glover: How’d you feel when you got the news?

Thom McMahon: You’re immediately start reflecting on your life what you’ve done and what you want to do.

Jason Glover: What you’re gonna finish out.

Thom McMahon: While everything is slow, your mind starts racing. All of a sudden you start hearing the words in the music. You start hearing the voice of your children. You start smelling the perfume on your wife in a different way. It was always there, but you kind of go on autopilot until one of these things hits you in the heart. 2014 will be my official five year anniversary and if I make it through that then I’ll be officially what they call in remission.

Jason Glover: I’m happy for you.

Thom McMahon: I couldn’t have done it without my wife, without my kids, without the support of my family and friends. I mean writing recipes is what kept me going during the downtime.

Jason Glover: Was it?

Thom McMahon: Yeah. I’d sit and watch the TV and I’d say, “That looks good, but I’m gonna tweak that a little bit.” And I’d write my own recipe. You know, the meal we’ve got planned is gonna be absolutely fantastic.

Jason Glover: And I hear we’ve got a little bit of something, like a little desert thing at the end, right?

Thom McMahon: We got a show. We got a little pyrotechnics.

Jason Glover: A little pyrotechnics. What are we making?

Thom McMahon: So I’m starting out with crab cakes and then we’re gonna finish up strong with Bananas Foster.

Jason Glover: I don’t know about you, but I don’t like slopping on my clothes. I’m not gonna let you get slopped on okay? So we’ve got your jacket, Chef Thom jacket right there. Look at that!

Thom McMahon: That’s awesome.

Jason Glover: It has your name. A little Dads that Cook. Now you can slop all day long. You wear that every time you go and cook.

Thom McMahon: I’m ready to slop.

So this is the sauce that I make for my crab cakes. We got some mayonnaise. We got some sriracha, fresh clove of garlic, kosher salt. Then finally here just a little bit of white sugar. Any mayonnaise sauce that you make you definitely want to give it a minimum of about a half an hour to setup from once you originally make it.

Jason Glover: The process is just to put all this stuff together.

Thom McMahon: It’s the technique I use that makes it so impressive. It’s called the dump. Are you ready?

So we’re gonna take our bowl. We gonna take the sriracha.

Jason Glover: Okay.

Thom McMahon: We’re gonna dump it right in. While I crush the clove of garlic why don’t you mix that up for me real quick.

Jason Glover: Sure.

Thom McMahon: Very simple. Just-

Jason Glover: Oh, living on the edge there Thom.

Thom McMahon: That’s fantastic. Then I just like to run a knife through it real quick. Now this is all nice and happy. This is gonna be a spicy one I can tell by the color. And then just the sugar. We’re gonna add that in. And then finally our pinch of salt.

Jason Glover: You’re kind of making me work today Thom.

Thom McMahon: You’re expertise is showing through.

Jason Glover: I am just-

Thom McMahon: That is great. And that is perfect. Right about that.

Jason Glover: Okay. Now I’m gonna let it go set. Right?

Thom McMahon: Correct.

Jason Glover: And that’s all we got to do with the sauce.

Thom McMahon: That’s it. We are done.

Jason Glover: All right. So we’ve got everything here.

Thom McMahon: We’ve got some fresh cracked crab. We got our salt. We’ve got some saltine crackers. One egg. We’ve got a red and green bell pepper that we’re gonna dice. One shallot that we’re gonna chop you. We’ve got some mayonnaise, pickled jalapeno, two cloves of fresh garlic that have been crushed. We’ve got a little Old Bay seasoning. And then some salt if we need any final seasoning. And a little bit of cilantro.

Jason Glover: Maurice wants to go to the party.

Thom McMahon: He’s been invited to the dance for sure.

Jason Glover: For sure, you’re going to the dance buddy. You’re going! Yay!

Thom McMahon: Once you understand the inner workings of a crab, it’s really easy. You’ve got a little flap that’s on the bottom of them. You can take a butter knife or a sharp pointed little knife and just kind of flap it up. Once you get that started, you just want to break that off. And that’ll give you a little pocket now to get in here with your thumbs because what you want to do is you want to separate the top part of the shell from the body of the crab. It’s gonna get a little graphic.

Jason Glover: All right. Great. Let’s see what you got.

Thom McMahon: All right. Let’s see if we get this guy open.

Jason Glover: Oh my God! Freak me out! Yeah, that is pretty gross. That’s pretty funky.

Thom McMahon: What you’ll see here is these white little pieces on the side. These are their lungs. And right in the middle you’ve got what is a combination between their liver and their pancreas. So we’ll just take and separate the lungs right off. They just pull off the crab. And you just want to clean up the little bits and pieces here. So you just want to take some cold water, get it going and you can see it just washes out of there. Nice and easy.

I’m just gonna bust it in half. And then the easiest way to do it just take and turn-

Jason Glover: Twist them off.

Thom McMahon: -and twist them off. You can go out to your local hardware store and get a simple little mallet like this.

Jason Glover: A little rubber one.

Thom McMahon: So the way you want to do … I actually move my cutting board to the edge of my counter. And if I take and turn this sideways and get the hammer … Hear how that pops?

Jason Glover: Yeah.

Thom McMahon: And you just want to take it and you can turn it around, but you don’t need to break it all the way open. With the claw, I like to break this open. Separate kind of the arm from the actual mitt. Just break it till it starts to open up. For the mitt part of the claw, I like to turn it so the pincher claws are curved up a little bit. Right in here. Get it going. Spin it around. And then you kind of take it right there at the knuckle. The rest of the crab legs, you just want to repeat that process. When you’re all done with that you come to the body. And this is where the biggest chunks of meat can be.

What I like to do with the body is I like to give it a little bit of squish first. That makes it a little bit easier to get into the shell compartment. What I do is I just start from one side. Just start peeling it open. And they just break into little sections. It makes it a little bit easier to kind of get in and if you find a piece that’s kind of jammed in there pretty good and you’re not sure how you’re gonna get that out, the toe.

Jason Glover: Yeah.

Thom McMahon: Exactly.

Jason Glover: Yeah.

Thom McMahon: And alls you need to do is just bust that toe off. There’s no meat in there. And that acts like a little pick and you just reach right in-

Jason Glover: And yank it out.

Thom McMahon: So with getting the meat out of the legs is where you find that you’ve broke it open and you just help it along a little bit further.

Jason Glover: Right. Literally pull it out.

Thom McMahon: Lift that leg segment right out of there. And that is a beautiful piece.

Jason Glover: That’s a good chunk right there.

Thom McMahon: There’s a little piece of cartilage that runs on the inside so when you crack it, it’ll come out. Look like feathers. So now, you just go in there and yank it out.

Jason Glover: You got a big old chunk of meat right there. That’s nice.

That was fun with the crab. Poor little Maurice made it to the party. I hear that you’ve got some type of helper of some sort.

Thom McMahon: My daughter, Taylor.

Jason Glover: Come on down! You’re the next contestant on Chop Your Finger Off!

Taylor: I will not chop my finger off!

Jason Glover: You won’t?

Taylor: No, I won’t.

Thom McMahon: For the bell pepper we don’t need a whole lot because we want the bell pepper just to be an accent. Cut it into little fine planks and the smaller you can make the planks in the beginning, the easier it is to chop.

Jason Glover: All right.

Thom McMahon: And then she can turn it around sideways.

Jason Glover: And work her magic with that big knife.

Thom McMahon: And work her magic with the big knife.

Jason Glover: Wow, that’s pretty good. So how long have you been cooking with your pop?

Taylor: Probably when I was five or six.

Thom McMahon: Let’s just push that over to the side and then we’ll do the green bell pepper.

Jason Glover: That looks good. Good job.

Thom McMahon: Just gonna do this at the same time.

Jason Glover: So pops a lot over here, he’s gonna work out that part for you. She’s focused. Look at that focus. Isn’t that awesome?

Thom McMahon: Shallots are really easy to do, so if you just take your time you eventually-

Jason Glover: Peel the layer off.

Thom McMahon: You can put a couple of grooves in it sideways like this. A couple of cuts all the way. Then turn it around and then kind of come down through like this.

Jason Glover: Then you’ve got the perfect little dices. It helps to have a nice sharp knife. Yeah, that’s good. Jalapeno.

Taylor: Jalapeno.

Jason Glover: It’s a jalapeno, isn’t it?

Thom McMahon: We’re just gonna put this right in here for now.

Jason Glover: All right.

Thom McMahon: And for the cilantro, just take it, kind of twist off a bunch of it, tuck it into a ball. And we don’t want this to overpower the crab cake. We just want it to be in the background.

Jason Glover: What else are we gonna put in there now?

Thom McMahon: You want to crack the egg.

Jason Glover: Okay.

Thom McMahon: We’re gonna beat that up with just a little bit of salt.

Jason Glover: All right.

Thom McMahon: What the salt does is it allows the egg to break down. We’re also gonna beat a little bit of air into it. What I like to do is take the mayonnaise, add it into the egg. We’re also gonna take the garlic as well as the Old Bay seasoning. I just like to stir this up a little bit because this makes it a little bit more consistent throughout the crab cake. Add that right in over the top. And just give it a little fold. And we’ll kind of bring it all together on the first pass.

Jason Glover: All right. I think it’s pretty mixed.

Thom McMahon: All right. Great.

Jason Glover: Now what are we gonna do with these shallots and the pepper?

Thom McMahon: So what we’re gonna do is transfer those over to a sauce pan, medium high heat. Gonna add a little olive oil. Saute those up briefly until they begin to become translucent. And then as soon as they cool down we’re gonna add them in. And then the last step we hae to do is just break up the crackers. And we’re gonna have Taylor do this too.

Taylor: Oh goody!

Jason Glover: Hey, hey. All right.

Thom McMahon: We add the crackers right into the bag. We seal it up nice and tight. Get all the air out of it, right? And then we just start breaking them up with a rolling pin. If you take the air out of it like you saw Taylor do in the beginning, there’s less likelihood that it’ll break on you.

Jason Glover: Yeah.

Thom McMahon: So this is where we really look to see if we need any … It just mixes. It’s sticking together okay. And then what we can do is we can reach in, grab a hold of it. It’s just starting to come together. After some time in the refrigerator that’ll be just about right. A little trick I like to use is to grab-

Jason Glover: And ice cream scoop, yeah.

Thom McMahon: -that way everything comes out consistent and about the same size. And then you’re just gonna flatten it into a puck.

Jason Glover: Okay.

Thom McMahon: And you can see how it’s just starting to break apart. And this is where you got to be careful. Kind of really helped it. We’re gonna finish forming it right on the foil.

Jason Glover: Okay. How long are we gonna leave them in the fridge?

Thom McMahon: So we’re gonna leave them at least an hour. If you can give them a couple hours that’s even better. Looks good. Do you want to make one?

Jason Glover: Sure if you want.

Thom McMahon: Yeah. See how gentle you have to be with them.

Taylor: I bet you he’ll break it on his first try.

Jason Glover: That’s very possible. I love the positive feeling you have today.

Thom McMahon: Yeah, she’s great isn’t she?

Jason Glover: Oh, got to be careful.

Thom McMahon: See how gentle you have to be?

Taylor: I told you.

Thom McMahon: Got to get them back together. Beautiful.

Jason Glover: Hey. I did it. Yay! Perfect. Look at that.

All right, great. We’ve got our crab cakes out. Let’s get this thing cooked up. All right. So you got a little oil. Get that nice and hot.

Thom McMahon: We’re just gonna add in our crab cakes.

Jason Glover: Oh yeah. Look at that.

Thom McMahon: Get them to mix that around so they all get a little bit of oily love. While these are browning up sometimes I like to spin them just so they get color evenly across the cake.

Jason Glover: Oh, you broke it.

Thom McMahon: So delicate.

Jason Glover: That’s all right. We’ll give that to you. Ooh. And your wife. Do it. Okay, they smell good. These look good. Let’s get them in the oven.

Thom McMahon: God that sucked those broke. Man that sucked.

Jason Glover: I know. It’s okay buddy.

Thom McMahon: I let you down man. I tried to keep the filler to a minimum. Had I just added more mayo and cracker crumbs I would, it would have been-

Jason Glover: It would have been it. All right great. So we’re gonna dress these plates up.

Thom McMahon: I like to do a special little presentation with the sauce. A tablespoon, place a little dollop right there at the end and then just kind of fan it across-

Jason Glover: Yeah, nice.

Thom McMahon:T -to give it a nice little presentation.

Jason Glover: That looks pretty.

Thom McMahon: I think our crab cakes are ready to roll.

Jason Glover: Oh, nice.

Thom McMahon: Look at how tender these turned out. They actually started falling apart.

Jason Glover: Look at that. They’re holding together just fine.

Thom McMahon: Not bad.

Jason Glover: I think once you flipped them over it was okay.

Thom McMahon: A little fresh tomato around.

Jason Glover: Yummy.

Thom McMahon: And on top.

Jason Glover: Okay.

Thom McMahon: Nice little hint of freshness and then finish it with the green onion.

Jason Glover: Nice.

Thom McMahon: And there it is.

Jason Glover: Awesome. Okay. That looks beautiful. I can’t wait to eat it.

Thom McMahon: It’s almost like Christmas on a plate.

Jason Glover: All right. We’re down to table now with Chef Thom and the fam-a-lam-a-dama.

Thom McMahon: My lovely wife Laura.

Laura: Hi.

Jason Glover: Hi Laura.

Thom McMahon: My 14 year old daughter Taylor.

Jason Glover: Hi Taylor.

Thom McMahon: And my 12 year old son Tristan.

Tristan: Hi ya!

Jason Glover: What’s up?

Tristan: What’s up?

Jason Glover: Gonna try this yummy crab cake. This is the first time we’ve had a first course, I have to say. Have you been having some fun?

Thom McMahon: This was a blast.

Jason Glover: Yeah?

Thom McMahon: Yeah.

Jason Glover: So you guys obviously eat a lot of your dad’s food. How is it?

Taylor: It’s amazing.

Laura: It’s delicious.

Jason Glover: It’s unbelievable.

Tristan: Off the charts.

Jason Glover: Off the charts. That’s from the kids saying this. How did you guys meet?

Laura: I met him at a Friday’s in San Bruno.

Jason Glover: And your favorite drink at the time was a …

Laura: A Long Island Iced Tea.

Jason Glover: Yeah. Because it didn’t take too many of those.

Laura: No, I was on my second one and then I got the nerve to go over and talk to him.

Jason Glover: You got the nerve to go over and talk to him?

Laura: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jason Glover: Wow, you must have been hot back then.

All right. Look at all that crab in there. No, go ahead. Oh my God.

Laura: Delicious.

Jason Glover: That is killer. That has a killer kick to it. You can taste the garlic, but that sriracha really, bang. Just knocks it in. Too spicy for you?

Taylor: He doesn’t usually do it this spicy.

Jason Glover: ‘Cause he … I told him I like spicy. So I’ll eat it.

Taylor: No, it’s mine.

Jason Glover: Let’s have some flambeau.

Thom McMahon: Banana flambeau.

Jason Glover: This is awesome.

Thom McMahon: Thanks.

Jason Glover: We’re gonna make the flambeau. We’ll be back, okay?

Thom McMahon: Okay.

Jason Glover: Cool, let’s do it.

Thom McMahon: It’s childproof.

Jason Glover: Yeah, it’s childproof all right. All right. So let’s run through what we got.

Thom McMahon: We got a banana. We got our cinnamon.

Jason Glover: Yeah.

Thom McMahon: Unsalted butter, brown sugar.

Jason Glover: Brown sugar. Dark brown sugar.

Thom McMahon: About a quarter of a cup, maybe a little bit less of our banana liqueur. And about the same amount of the dark run. I like to cut it on the bias a little bit and give it a little bit of some thickness that’ll keep the texture as it’s cooking. So we’re gonna start with the butter. So we need to add the brown sugar. So as this starts to melt you just kind of want to mix it up. The butter melts it’s gonna make a nice caramel.

Jason Glover: Yeah.

Thom McMahon: And you just want to be careful that you don’t burn it. Really keep an eye on it. When it starts getting a little foamy like that-

Jason Glover: Like that then it’s about the time.

Thom McMahon: -turn the heat down. There, now we can add our cinnamon. Just dump it right in. Perfect. So now we need our banana liqueur. It’s gonna bubble up pretty good. And we’re just gonna boil that back down a little bit thicker, which will happen pretty quick. And there it is. All right.

Jason Glover: Okay.

Thom McMahon: So now, now this is where we get to have the fun. We’re gonna do this off heat.

Jason Glover: Okay.

Thom McMahon: Pour it in. Get the stick. There we go.

Jason Glover: There we go. Poof.

Thom McMahon: Slide them right in to the pool. And there we go. This is vanilla bean ice cream. And this is my favorite that goes with this desert. And now we’ll just spoon some of this rich goodness on right over the top.

Jason Glover: Awesome.

Thom McMahon: There you have it. Bananas Foster.

Jason Glover: Wow. That looks delicious. All right. You better bring it over to your family before they get all freaked out.

Thom McMahon: Right. Here ya go. Take it over.

Jason Glover: All right. I’ll take it over to them.

All right we got flambeau. Is this another thing that you guys like?

Taylor: It’s my favorite.

Jason Glover: It’s your favorite thing in the whole world. Do you like to sit in here talking about it and looking at it while it’s melting and you can’t eat it?

Taylor: [inaudible].

Jason Glover: All right, let’s dig in. Oh my God. That sauce is like …

Laura: No way!

Taylor: Hey! I was gonna do that.

Jason Glover: But I beat you to it!

Laura: Was it good Tristan?

Jason Glover: She’s gonna snarf in a second. Here it comes! Right out the nose!

Thom McMahon: Fire in the hole.

Jason Glover: It’s going. It’s coming up! See, I told you!

Well this has been an awesome meal. I mean this has been phenomenal. Thank you Chef Thom-

Thom McMahon: Thank you.

Jason Glover: -for having us.

Thom McMahon: Absolutely.

Jason Glover: I really, really appreciate it.

Go back to dadsthatcook.com. Go check out all these yummy recipes that Chef Thom made and we’ll see you next time at the next place. Who knows when that’ll be, but we’ll see you next time. Take care. [17:18 to 17:37 music].

So are you a Dad? Do you like to cook? Do you cook meals for your family? Are you a regular dad like I am and not professionally trained, but you think you’ve got what it takes to be on my show? Go to www.dadsthatcook.com, fill out the form and who knows? You might be the next person on our show.

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