Combine the salt, 1/4 cup of the Essence and sugar in a large plastic container or non-reactive stockpot. Add the buttermilk and stir to completely dissolve the salt and sugar. Immerse the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
Combine the flour and remaining 2 tablespoons Essence in a medium brown paper bag; shake to combine.
Heat 4 inches of oil to 375 degrees F in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven.
Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and shake to remove excess. Add the chicken in batches to the flour and shake to completely coat. Remove and shake to remove excess flour. Place on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to rest until ready to fry.
Fry the chicken in batches, skin-side down, until golden brown and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Turn and fry until golden brown on the second side, about 8 minutes longer. Remove and drain on paper towels.
(Note: An even oil temperature is key to the success of this recipe; a clip-on candy/deep-fry thermometer should be kept in the pot at all times. And the temperature should register at least 325 degrees F during the cooking process.)
Serve hot or at room temperature.
Yield: 4 to 8 servings