A sprinkling of sugar in the cornmeal coating caramelizes as the okra cooks, creating a crisp, golden crust.
1. Stir together okra and buttermilk in a large bowl. Stir together cornmeal mix and next 3 ingredients in a separate large bowl. Remove okra from buttermilk, in batches, using a slotted spoon. Dredge in cornmeal mixture, and place in a wire-mesh strainer. Shake off excess.
2. Pour oil to depth of 1 inch into a large, deep cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven; heat to 375°. Fry okra, in batches, 4 minutes or until golden, turning once. Drain on paper towels.