I am flying from Seattle to Hilo, Hawaii next week and would like to take some homemade beef jerky in a vacuum-sealed bag. Can I take it in my carry-on with Hawaiian Airlines?
Hawaii has special agriculture rules to protect the islands from pests and diseases that are present elsewhere. Here's the relevant information (I've omitted plant and animal rules) from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture on Traveling from the U.S. Mainland to Hawaii:
Agricultural items include all plants, plant parts, animals, microorganism cultures, soil, and related containers and packing materials.
All agricultural items must be declared on the “Plants and Animals Declaration Form,” which is distributed and collected by flight attendants prior to landing in Hawaii.
All agricultural items must be presented for inspection at the Agricultural Inspection Counter located near the exits in the baggage claim area.
All plant material must be free of soil, insect pests and signs of disease.
In general, foods that are cooked, canned, frozen or commercially processed and/or packaged are allowed to be transported to Hawaii, as long as the product is arriving from within the U.S.
Frozen or chilled meats are also allowed to be transported to Hawaii as long as the meat originated from within the U.S.
Manufactured food products are not required to be declared or inspected.
As you can see on the form, they're mainly interested in fruits and vegetables, plants, soil, and animals, but the website specifically mentions "commercially processed" foods, not homemade jerky. As such, it would be safest to declare it to a specialist when you arrive in Hawaii.
As noted by Newton, it is permitted by TSA airport security.
As per the TSA guidelines there won't be any issues as long as your beef jerky isn't stored inside some liquid etc.
You may transport this item in carry-on or checked baggage. For items you wish to carry on, you should check with the airline to ensure that the item will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the airplane. To help officers get a clear look at your bag and reduce the need for additional screening, we suggest you pack your bag in neat layers (layer of clothes, layer of electronics, layer of clothes, layer of shoes, etc.) and wrap cords tightly around electronics items.
Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.
The general rule of thumb is that if it's not a liquid/aerosol and just a simple eatable snack, it would be allowed.