Holding the small end of the drummette, cut, scrape and push meat down along the bone towards the thick end. Pull skin and meat over the end of the bone to resemble baby drumsticks. Repeat with remaining drummettes so that they all resemble "lollipops." Place prepared "lollipops" in a medium non-reactive mixing bowl and add the buttermilk
, cayenne, hot sauce
, salt, sugar
, and garlic cloves and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap
and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
While the chicken is marinating, make the sauce. Combine all ingredients except the blue cheese in the bowl of a food processor
and process until smooth. Add the blue cheese and pulse
to combine -- sauce may be served either slightly chunky or smooth, as you prefer. Transfer to a small non-reactive bowl and adjust seasoning, to taste, if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to fry
Combine the cornstarch, flour, 2 tablespoons of Essence, and the cayenne in a large plastic resealable food storage bag and shake to blend
. Drop the chicken "lollipops" a few at a time into the bag and shake to coat. Remove the chicken and shake off any excess cornstarch. Repeat the coating process until all of the "lollipops" are coated.
Heat 4 inches of oil to 300 degrees F over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven
or other large, heavy pot. Fry the chicken in batches until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and drain
on paper towels. Allow the chicken to rest at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve with the blue cheese dipping sauce.