Cut the chicken wings at the joints, and set the wing tips aside for another purpose. In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, hot sauce, 1/4 cup Essence and 3 teaspoons salt. Whisk to combine, add the chicken, and toss to coat thoroughly. Cover the bowl, transfer to the refrigerator, and marinate for at least 1 hour, and up to 4 hours before proceeding.
Preheat a large cast iron Dutch oven with 1 quart of peanut oil to 360 degrees F. Place the flour in a large resealable plastic food storage bag and season with 1/4 cup of the Essence and remaining salt. Add 8 pieces of chicken at a time to the seasoned flour and shake to evenly coat. Remove from the bag and place on a wire rack set over a sheet pan. Continue to coat the wings and allow them to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before proceeding.
Fry the chicken in batches, about 10 to 12 pieces at a time. When you add the chicken to the hot oil, the temperature will drop drastically. Raise the heat to high once the chicken is in the pot. The temperature should level off at around 300 degrees F. Fry the chicken until golden brown and the meat is cooked all the way through, about 7 to 8 minutes. Be sure to return the oil to 360 to 370 degrees F before frying another batch of chicken. Continue this process until all of the chicken is fried. Season the fried chicken with the remaining tablespoon of Essence. Serve hot. (The chicken can be kept in a preheated 200 degree F oven once fried to keep warm while you fry the remainder of the chicken.)
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup
Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William and Morrow, 1993.