Place the chicken in a 1-gallon re-sealable plastic food storage bag. In a medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the lime juice, the buttermilk, garlic, 1 tablespoon of the crushed red pepper and the kosher salt. Mix well to combine and pour over the chicken in the bag. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight, or at least 12 hours, turning the bag occasionally to ensure even marinating.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Set a large, 6-quart cast iron Dutch oven over medium high heat with 3-quarts of vegetable oil. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F using a frying thermometer to gauge the temperature of the oil. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, drain through a colander, and set aside until ready to fry.
Place the flour and Essence in a 1-gallon re-sealable plastic food storage bag and place the chicken, 8 pieces at a time, in the flour and shake to coat. Lay the coated chicken on a wire rack set over a sheet pan to rest for 20 minutes before frying. Continue with the remaining chicken pieces until all of the chicken has been coated. Fry the chicken in batches of 12 pieces. The temperature of the oil should drop to around 300 degrees F. The chicken should fry at 300 degrees F until they are golden brown and begin to float, about 7 to 9 minutes. Place the fried chicken on a paper-lined sheet pan and place in the oven to keep warm as you fry the rest of the chicken. Be sure to allow the oil to return to 350 degrees F or so before adding more chicken to the hot oil.
Once all the chicken is fried, place the honey, lime zest, the remaining 1/4 cup of lime juice and the remaining 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes in a small bowl and mix to combine. Serve the wings, 6 pieces per person, with some dipping sauce on the side.
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William Morrow, 1993.