John Ramirez opened 4Points BBQ & Blues House in Winterport in April 2011, and in the year since, it’s become a wildly popular lunch and dinner destination. Don’t be surprised if you drive by on a given night and there’s a line out the door. It’s in an unassuming storefront right on Route 1 in downtown Winterport, with a small outdoor patio and stage, and an indoor seating area decorated with pictures of famous bluesmen. It’s laid-back, it’s family-friendly, and boy, does it smell good.
Ramirez, an Oklahoma City native, got his start in competition-style barbecue while living in Kansas City, where he developed his technique for brisket in particular. He and his family decided to move to Maine a few years back in order to bring the Ramirez style barbecue to a public not overly familiar with barbecue in general. His style doesn’t quite fit into any of the established regional styles, like North Carolina’s vinegar-based sauces, the sweeter, tomato-based Alabama sauces, or the dry rubs popular in Kansas City and Kentucky. It’s a little bit of all those things, and at 4Points, you get the best of both worlds — a slow-cooked, smoked, dry-rubbed meat that you can top with any of the six regional sauces they offer.
In addition to the brisket, pulled pork, ribs, chopped hog and beef, andouille sausage, smoked turkey and (sometimes) burnt ends — which almost always sells out before 7 p.m. on weekends — there’s live music on Saturdays, usually in a blues and classic rock vein. There are a few big events set for later this summer, including Texas bluesman Chris Duarte on June 17. Until then, get your barbecue fix as soon as you can, as the line out the door in the summer months will surely get longer with each passing day.