Feature selection targets for selecting relevant and useful features, and is a vital challenge in turbulence modeling by machine learning methods. In this paper, a new posterior feature selection method based on validation dataset is proposed, which is an efficient and universal method for complex systems including turbulence. Different from the priori feature importance ranking of the filter method and the exhaustive search for feature subset of the wrapper method, the proposed method ranks the features according to the model performance on the validation dataset, and generates the feature subsets in the order of feature importance. Using the features from the proposed method, a black-box model is built by artificial neural network (ANN) to reproduce the behavior of Spalart-Allmaras (S-A) turbulence model for high Reynolds number (Re) airfoil flows in aeronautical engineering. The results show that compared with the model without feature selection, the generalization ability of the model after feature selection is significantly improved. To some extent, it is also demonstrated that although the feature importance can be reflected by the model parameters during training process, artificial feature selection is still very necessary.