Federal Ribs was a popular chain of 3 restaurants in Medellín that had some good American-style BBQ ribs as well as good burgers but this chain is closed.
The inspiration for this restaurant chain is southern-style cooking in the U.S., which drove the owners to open five restaurants in Medellín that specialize in American-style BBQ ribs as well as these restaurants having good burgers and wings.
However two of these restaurants that were less busy closed in mid-2019. So, the restaurant had three restaurants. Two Medellin Guru readers indicated that two more had closed. But we confirmed in December 2020 that all three remaining Federal Ribs restaurants had closed several months earlier in 2020. So, all Federal Ribs locations in Medellín are now closed.
I had been to all of the Federal Ribs locations in Medellín and the food and service was consistently good in my experience.
In addition, I’m originally from Texas before moving to Medellín and I have found the BBQ ribs at Federal Ribs are similar to the BBQ ribs found in my home state in the U.S. Note the above photo is courtesy of Federal Ribs.
My Experiences at Federal Ribs
I first discovered Federal Ribs well in 2018 when looking for a new place to go to lunch with a neighbor. We ended up at the location in Mayorca mall in Sabaneta. And since that time, I had been to Federal Ribs several times and have also ordered delivery service several times. Unfortunately this location in Mayorca mall closed in August 2019.
I tried the ribs with several different sauces and also the burgers and wings, which have all been good. My favorite sauces for the ribs are the Jack Daniel’s BBQ sauce, Diablo sauce and the 8-year Medellín Rum BBQ sauce.
I also went to Federal Ribs with a reader of Medellin Guru. He had a half-rack of ribs with Diablo sauce and said they were the best ribs he has experienced in a long time. And I had a Beef Burger, which perfectly cooked and was very tasty as it uses Angus beef. Our total including drinks and tip for two was 72,400 pesos.
In addition, the Federal Ribs restaurants had free Wi-fi available. So, you could browse the Internet or work while there.
The Food Menu
Since I first discovered this restaurant chain over a year ago, the food menu changed with more items added to the menu. In addition, the prices have increased somewhat.
The specialty was of course the ribs. They had six types of “special ribs” that are priced at 27,900 pesos for a half-rack and 46,900 pesos for a full rack:
- Special ribs with Federal BBQ sauce
- Special ribs with Chipotle sauce
- Special ribs with Buffalo sauce
- Special ribs with Jack Daniel’s BBQ sauce
- Special ribs with reduction of Black Artisanal Beer
- Special ribs with Bourbon sauce
Federal Ribs also offered five types of “traditional ribs” that were priced at 25,900 pesos for a half-rack and 44,900 pesos for a full-rack:
- Traditional ribs with 8-year Medellín Rum BBQ
- Traditional ribs with reduction of Maracuyá
- Traditional ribs with reduction of espresso, caramel and balsamic sauce
- Traditional ribs with Diablo sauce (spicy)
- Traditional ribs with Colombian hot sauce
Every order of ribs came with a choice of two sides. You could select from coleslaw, chili, corn on the cob, green salad, vegetables, French fries or four other potato options.
Also, there were two larger orders of ribs. There was one for four people for 79,900 pesos and one was for five people for 88,900 pesos.
Federal Ribs had nine different burgers on the menu:
- Model T: with 150 grams of beef, cheddar cheese, onion rings and vegetables (lettuce and tomato) for 19,900 pesos
- Beef burger: with 180 grams of Angus beef, bacon, cheddar cheese and vegetables for 25,900 pesos
- Riburger: with 180 grams of beef, rib meat, bacon, cheddar cheese and vegetables for 27,900 pesos
- Double F: with double beef (300 grams), bacon, double cheddar cheese and vegetables for 29,900 pesos
- Cheese burger: with 150 grams of beef, cheese and bacon for 21,900 pesos.
- Chicken Crunch: with 150 grams for chicken, cheddar cheese and vegetables for 19,000 pesos
- Mexican: with 180 grams of beef, guacamole, cheese, pico de gallo, vegetables and diablo sauce for 20,900 pesos
- Hawaiian: with 150 grams of beef, cheddar cheese, pineapple, bacon and vegetables for 21,900 pesos
- Philadelphia: with 150 grams of beef, cream cheese, caramelized onions and vegetables for 21,900 pesos
Each burger came with one of the sides listed earlier or an extra charge for additional sides.
On the menu there were also wings that cost 19,500 pesos for 10 wings, 34,900 pesos for 20 wings or 49,900 pesos for 30 wings. In my experience, the wings were also good.
Also, on the menu were three different salads priced at either 19,900 or 21,900 pesos and four sandwiches for 19,900 to 23,900 pesos. In addition, there was BBQ chicken for 24,900 pesos, New York or Texas steak for 32,900 pesos and grilled salmon for 36,900 pesos.
In addition, there were eight different appetizers on the menu priced between 9,900 to 16,900 pesos. The appetizers included cheese fries, cheese sticks, chicken tenders, nachos, onion rings, quesadillas and tomato soup.
Also, there was a kid’s menu with three options for 17,900 pesos each.
Furthermore, there were three desserts on the menu: brownie with ice cream or apple pie with ice cream for 10,900 pesos or cheesecake for 11,900 pesos.
The Drink Menu
On the drink menu, this restaurant chain had 12 different beer options priced from 6,000 to 9,000 pesos. They also offered wines for 52,000 pesos per bottle and three types of sangria for 56,000 pesos per pitcher each. In addition, they had three cocktails priced at 17,000 pesos each.
Furthermore, they had several natural juices for 7,000 pesos and sodas and bottled water for 3,900 pesos.
How to Get to Federal Ribs
This chain of restaurants had three restaurants in Medellín located in three of the most popular neighborhoods for foreigners: El Pobaldo, Envigado and Laureles but we confirmed all three restaurants were closed in 2020. Also, this restaurant used to have two more restaurants but they closed in 2019.
This chain’s location in Sabaneta and a second location in Envigado closed in mid-2019. Federal Ribs closed its two least popular restaurant locations. And in 2020 the restaurant closed its last three locations.
The five restaurant locations (all closed) were as follows:
El Poblado: Carrera 35 # 10B-17– closed in 2020 Envigado: Calle 30 Sur #44A-07, Calle de la Buena Mesa– closed in mid-2019 Envigado: Viva Envigado Mall, Carrera 48 # 32B Sur-139, 3rd floor– closed in 2020 Laureles: Circular 75 #39B-21– closed in 2020 Sabaneta: Mayorca Mega Plaza Mall, Carrera 44 # 50 Sur-279– closed in mid-2019
Website was – http://federalribs.com/ (now offline)
Furthermore, if going on the Medellín Metro, the easiest location to get to was in Envigado at the new Viva Envigado Mall (located near the Envigado metro station on line A).
The Bottom Line: Federal Ribs in Medellín in Closed
I like BBQ ribs and before discovering Federal Ribs I used to eat at Mu in El Poblado several times each year. Mu has some really good BBQ ribs and even uses the slogan “Fukin’ Good Ribs”.
The biggest problem with Mu is that it’s only open on Friday and Saturday nights each week from 6 pm to 10 pm. Also, it’s located in El Poblado, which I try to avoid going to since I live in Sabaneta.
Federal Ribs in comparison was open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. The chain had five locations in the Medellín metro area but it closed two in 2019 and the other three locations closed in 2020.
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Editors note: updated on October 6, 2018 with a new Federal Ribs location in the new Viva Envigado mall.
Editors note: updated on January 22, 2019 with information from the new menu at Federal Ribs.
Editors note: updated on September 17, 2019 with information that two locations of Federal Ribs are closed in Sabaneta and Envigado. So, this restaurant now has three restaurants instead of five.
Editors note: updated on December 14, 2020 with information that all Federal Ribs locations in the Medellín metro area are closed.
Thanks Jeff,. I’m happily surprised with the choices and diversity of food in Medellin. Not that I’m a rib lover but once in a while it’s a good choice. Have a good one Jeff. We set the clocks ahead tonight. So heading to bed.
I needed a BBQ fix last week and decided to try out Federal Ribs in Laureles for dinner. It was busy but I was lucky to get the last table available. I ordered a full rack of ribs with the Jack Daniels sauce. The ribs were very meaty and not overcooked. I had corn on the cob and chili as sides and the sides were also good. The ribs were amazing and I will definitely be returning.
Thanks! Our family of 5 just got back from trying out Federal Ribs for a late lunch after reading this post. This was a belly filling meal of ribs with the Diablo, Rum and Jack Daniels sauces. Outstanding and our picky kids loved the ribs. We ate everything and I highly recommend the place.
Mu now is only open Friday and Saturday nights but they are still the best long necked pork spareribs in the entire country of Colombia.
Hi Rich, yes Mu has some excellent ribs but only being open Friday and Saturday nights is a big downside. Another downside is only one location.
Understood but if you like long neck juicy cooked to perfection pork spare ribs the inconvenience is well worth it.
Hi, Jeff. Nice review. I tried the burger at the Laureles location last night and I must say, it was the worst burger I’ve ever had. I will spare the details, will talk to the manager today with photos, can’t post them, don’t know how to trans. from phone to computer.
Hi Don, that’s surprising as the burgers I have had there have been good. So, definitely talk to the manager.
Thanks for the nice review. I went to Federal Ribs for lunch today and found the ribs to be excellent. I had ribs with the Rum BBQ sauce and they were so good I ordered some more to take home .
I went to the Viva Envigado location and sampled their rib offerings a few months back for a weekday lunch. I had the half rack with sides.
Bottom line: Meh.
Their not bad ribs but their not especially great either. In my opinion, the flavor of the rib should stand on its own. The portions are small for what you pay for too. Obviously, their ribs are prepared with Paisa taste buds in mind, which for the gringo diner means a noticeable lack of flavor/seasoning. Forgive me dear reader but simply putting BBQ/Jack Daniels or any other sauce on a prepared rib is not seasoning…it’s just candy sauce on warmed meat. A good rib starts with a good rub so that the seasoning can work it’s way through the meat/fat while it cooks. I think I may be a victim of my own unrealistic expectations from all of the positive reviews Federal Ribs has received. If you enjoy standard fare ribs from American sit-down chain restaurants then Federal Ribs is your spot. That’s not a knock on chain restaurants or Federal Ribs because most people are satisfied with that level of taste. It’s what people expect and pay for which is why these places stay in business.
For me though, I’ll give my hard- earned money to MU Ribs. Yes, even with the limited days and hours of business they make a pretty darn good rib that’s worth the hassle.