A Google search on another subject led me to this site and this thread. I've read a number of posts full of misinformation regarding the Bradford Pear, so I think I can add to this conversation.
First, a Bradford Pear really is a fruit-bearing pear tree. It is a cultivar of the Callery pear species: Pyrus callereryana 'Bradford'. One reason people may think it is not fruit bearing is that the fruit is very small. Another reason is that most people are familiar with this pear in a landscaping setting, where pollinating trees are absent. The Bradford pear is not self-pollinating and needs another cultivar or pear species to fertilize it.
People also believe that the Bradford Pear is a softer fruit wood because they see these trees suffer wind damage easily. It's not the softness that creates this problem; I've found it no more softer than any other fruit wood. Instead, it is the weak crotches and brushy composition of the tree that causes problems. Their brushy composition catches a lot of wind and the narrowly "Y"-shaped crotches split easily. Many fruit-bearing trees tend toward this habit, with all pears being pretty bad offenders. Where I live the orchardists work hard to correct this habit, training fruit-bearing limbs to grow perpendicular to the trunk and parallel to the ground. In my small orchard I work hardest training my Comice, Barlett and Seckel pears. The apples take the least amount of work. And the stone fruit trees are pruned in a much different manner.
I've also read in some forums that the Bradford Pear is not a true pear, but actually a form of a rose. Well, kinda. All pome fruits, including apples and pears, are members of the rose family (rosacea). So are stone fruits. In fact, rosacea family also includes strawberries, raspberries and almonds.
So why is this knowledge important for smoking? Well, wood is where the flavor comes from, and knowing your ingredients is important in any cooking.
Look at other posts and you'll see the flavor of pears and apples (both pome fruits) are very similar. Stone fruits have have their own flavors. And as some posters have noted, there can be differences in flavor between species and cultivars. And that offers new avenues for exploration.
For example, there is quite a difference in flavor between the currently popular and exceptionally sweet "Honeycrisp" apple and the very tart "Granny Smith" apples. So is the flavor of the smoke different? Mmmaybe yes, mmmmaybe no. My burning of wood shavings tells me there is a very slight difference.
So now, you have a whole 'nuther line of BS, when discussing your own secret recipes …
"I'd NEVER use Elberta, Red Haven is the only peach I'd use." Then watch your friends scramble around the orchards. ;)
Have a great day!