I probably should have cut up the chickens, but I was being lazy.
For what it’s worth, I’m pretty happy with the stock. I let it cool in the fridge overnight, and there’s not all that much fat on the top - I would have expected MUCH more given the amount of skin/fat that was on the chickens. So maybe the low heat thing does help with some of that.
Taste-wise, it’s good. Nice good meaty taste, even without salt. I’m simmering it now, I want to reduce it some to both concentrate the flavor and get it a little more gelatinous. Thinking about whether or not I want to do some Glace. I don’t use chicken glace all that much, but it is handy to have around at times.
I also pulled out the Harold McGee this morning and read up on what he says about stock making. He pretty much says the flavor of the stock comes from the meat, the body/thickness comes from the skin & bones, then goes on to say that the skin is pretty much essential for getting good collagen into the stock. He also says “low heat” but mentions simmering, so maybe not as low as Ruhlman likes.
So there you have it: it seems the experts are now advocating the “low heat/leave the skin in” method of making stock. As Chefguy notes, it didn’t always used to be like that, I, too, have read many times that you should not put too much skin in stock. Cooking, like everything else, goes in waves. Which is why every single time I make stock I seem to do it differently. Might as well experiment!