Writings on Guam and More
Deer Kelaguen Chamorro Recipe
...deer cooked in lemon juice, salt, onions and ginger.



Kelaguen binadu is pronounced ke-la-gwin bee-naw do. You may not always find deer kelaguen on Chamorro tables because it is harder to get deer meat than it is to buy chicken or shrimp. That said, when it is on the table, you better get your share! This kelaguen disappears quickly.

My husband and I have been stateside since 2000; we've spent many a Thanksgiving with my godparents, Auntie Daling and Uncle Kin. I look forward to cousin Jame's deer kelaguen and Nina's teriyaki deer with every visit.

Cousin James shared with me the ingredients he put into his kelaguen. The recipe below was inspired by him as of course, he does not measure; however, his kelaguen always tastes the same. Because my goal is to provide recipes with exact measurements so your dish is as good as mine, I again measured everything I put into this recipe.

OMG, this is so yummy! Best of all, it tastes like cousin Jame's kelaguen.



Set 1

2 lbs. or 5 c. tender deer meat, such as the hind leg, sliced thin (this is the weight with connective tissues removed)

1 tbsp. + ½ tsp. lemon powder

½ tsp. salt

1 c. cold water


Set 2

½ tbsp. + ½ tsp. lemon powder

¾ tsp. salt

1 tsp. minced, fresh ginger

½ c. thinly sliced yellow onion

¼ c. chopped green onions


Set 3

1 tbsp. hot pepper flakes


Note: If you use sea salt, you will likely have to incorporate more than the salt in this recipe. Do a taste test first.


Tools:   sharp knife,     cutting board,     large glass or plastic bowl,     plastic wrap



1.      Add all of set 1 into the large glass bowl. Mix this well then cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least 18 hours.

2.      Take the soaking deer meat out of fridge then add all of set 2 to the bowl. Mix well then taste.

3.      Add more lemon or salt in very small increments if you want it more lemony and salty; this recipe is great, but if you get deer from other parts of the world the taste may be different.

4.      Add 1 tbsp. of pepper flakes or your favorite hot pepper to taste; 1 tbsp. is too spicy for kids, about low to moderate for adults.

5.      Place back in fridge for 4 hours.

6.      Enjoy with hot, short-grain white rice or corn titiyas.




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© Copyright Paula Quinene. Check out Guam cookbooks and Chamorro cookbooks, A Taste of Guam and Remember Guam, for more Guamanian recipes and Chamorro recipes that are tested, tried and true. Get Macarons Math, Science, and Art, for foolproof macaron recipes and techniques. Most photos courtesy Paula and Edward Quinene.