Originally Posted by boar_d_laze
I'm not a huge AB fan, but I actually did see that show. It's worth finding the video if you can, because his chicken came out the same way -- too dark. He tried to make a virtue out of it, talking about how good the dark parts tasted and so on. I really can't disagree with him in terms of how his chicken tasted, because I never got to taste it. Something wrong with my cable subscription I guess.
The problem wasn't really with your paprika -- if you examine the over-browned parts, you'll see that (a) it was the crust, which wasn't actually seasoned itself; and (b) was where the chicken made contact with the pan. The problem was the pan surface temperature, which was too hot. The breading which touched the pan -- cooked by "contact conduction" was overcooked -- while the chicken -- cooked by "immersion contact conduction -- was on the money.
I suspect another part of the problem was the "New, 0 Transfat" Crisco which does not behave the way old Crisco did.
The solutions to the temperature problem are to either cook at a lower temperature altogether, or to start at a higher temperature, then lower it as soon as the crust nears the desired color. Either method is good.
For the low temp method, just cook at a steady 325-335, and don't worry about what Alton said about the size of the chicken, the temperature, and the skin and meat all coming together at the same time. He's all good intentions, but sometimes can get a little dogmatic about his own methods and calculations being the "right" or "best" ones. There are no "right" ones. Only ones which work -- and there are usually quite a few of those.
As for the high temp/low temp method : Preheat the oil at medium high, when it's hot add the chicken skin side down. When the first side colors to just a little less than the desired color (about 6 minutes, probably), turn it over and reduce the heat to medium low -- hot enough to still bubble, and let it go. For awhile. When the desired color is reached (probably around 12 minutes, turn again and finish cooking the skin side (about four minutes).
The fried/baked method is also pretty good, but the crust won't be as crisp. FWIW, KFC "Original" is pressure-fried/baked-humid
Unfortunately, most 0 transfat vegetable shortenings (which was AB's preferred fat) can get a bit iffy at the high temp -- really flirting with the smoke point. If you smell the grease starting to burn (you'll smell it before you see smoke or darkening), back off on the heat.
If you're truly serious about great fried chicken try lard instead of vegetable shortening. If you've got something against lard, use corn or peanut oil (peanut oil's pretty distinctive though, not to mention expensive). Lard is better than Crisco than ever was; and as I said, the New Crisco is not your mother's Crisco. At least not yet.
After marinating in a brine (sometimes a buttermilk brine), I dry the chicken, rub it, dredge it in seasoned flour, dip it in seasoned buttermilk, and dredge again. Sometimes I lightly smoke the chicken before breading and frying.
Hope this helps,